Most travelers heading across Alabama or out of state for vacation this summer can be expected to take an interstate highway for at least part of their trip. Birmingham is crisscrossed by a number of interstates including I-20, I-22, I-59, I-65 and the I-459 bypass. These superhighways are designed to make it easier for travelers to move at high speeds across multiple states. They are often congested, however, particularly around holidays and high-volume traffic periods.
Unfortunately, crowded conditions, traffic converging at different speeds, and frequent road maintenance activity, combine to make interstate highways dangerous. Thinking about interstate highways and car accidents made us wonder which interstates in Alabama are the most dangerous.
For starters, the Alabama Department of Transportation says there were 11,806 car accidents on Alabama interstates in 2012, which equates to nearly 10 percent of all car crashes reported during the year. Most of them (7,032) were on urban stretches as opposed to on rural interstates (4,774). Out of all of them, there were 93 fatalities (45 rural, 48 urban).
In rural areas of Alabama, 15 percent of crashes and 10 percent of fatalities occurred on interstates.
In urban areas, seven percent of accidents and 13 percent of fatalities occurred on interstates.
Overall, the largest share of traffic accidents happened on city streets (49,283) with crashes on other classifications of roadway about equal: 23,816 on state roads, 20,651 on county roads, and 20,636 on U.S. highways, according to the DOT.
On the other hand, more commercial truck accidents, about 30 percent, occur on interstate highways in Alabama than other types of roadway:
Unfortunately, DOT statistics, which are drawn from law enforcement reports, don’t address specific roadways.
The Accident Data Center, which bills itself as a resource to locate up-to-date information on major traffic accidents across the country, shows:
Many of these are multiple fatalities and injury accidents, like the death of a former UAB football player and injuries to three others in a three-car crash on Interstate 565 in Huntsville in June, and the death of three family members and several other injuries in a 10-vehicle crash on Interstate 65 in Montgomery in March.
In addition, I-65 in Alabama is listed at No. 61 of a 2010 ranking of America’s 100 Deadliest Highways by the Newsweek Daily Beast Company. This was based on 63 deaths in 56 accidents from 2004 to 2008.
It’s clear that the danger of a car accident on an interstate will exist as long as negligent drivers drive too fast for road or weather conditions.
We hope all of your interstate driving is safe this summer and beyond. But if you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver in Alabama, remember that you can always contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery or Huntsville with no further obligation. Call us at (205) 933-1500 for a free and confidential consultation.