December 2011 Archives

December 27, 2011

Officials Urge States to Beef up GDL Program to Save Lives in Alabama Car Accidents

Nearly 70 lives could be saved in Alabama car accidents by the implementation of a stricter graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, according to USA TODAY. According to a recent report from the Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 2,000 lives could be saved in just a year if all states were to enact a more thorough GDL program.
"We knew that when states pass good laws, lives are saved and a lot of money is saved. We'd just never done the analysis," says John Ulczycki from the NSC.

Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that this newly released report was put out just in time to reach Congress before they make big decisions regarding a multi-year highway and transit-spending bill. This bill would offer a portion of the allotted $25 million to states who are looking to toughen up their GDL program. Stricter GDL programs are associated with lower teen accident rates.

Traffic accidents are still the number one cause of death for teens in our country. Per mile driven, these young motorists are four times more likely to get into an accident than the drivers of older age groups.

Alabama's Current GDL Program:

-Stage One, Learner's Permit: Must be at least 15-years-old and must pass a written exam. Drivers who meet these qualifications can drive under the supervision of a parent or a guardian or a licensed driver who is over the age of 21.

-Stage Two, Restricted License: A driver may apply for this license once they've turned 16 and have held a learner's permit for at least six months. These drivers are unable to drive between midnight and 6:00 a.m. unless traveling to or from school, work or a religious sponsored event. Drivers are allowed to drive unaccompanied during emergencies as well. A driver cannot ride with more than three passengers in addition to the supervising driver.

-Stage Three, Unrestricted License: A driver can apply for this license at 18 and must have held a restricted licensed for at least six months. At this stage, all restrictions have been lifted.

According to the Allstate and NSC report, a good GDL program has seven components. Our state's program has a few of the components, but not all of them.

Components that are suggested for Alabama's GDL program:

-A minimum age of 16 to get a learner's permit.

-A minimum of 30 hours supervised driving to complete during the learner's stage.

-A minimum age of 16 and a half to apply for an intermediate license.

-Restricted drivers should not be allowed to drive with more than one non-family passenger in the vehicle.

Parents are urged to speak with the teen drivers in their lives to reiterate the importance of safe driving habits. Through the holiday season we see more traffic on our roadways. Increased traffic means an increased risk for car accidents, especially for teen drivers. Please be safe over the holiday period and be cautious behind the wheel.

Continue reading "Officials Urge States to Beef up GDL Program to Save Lives in Alabama Car Accidents" »

December 15, 2011

MADD's Annual Campaign Ranking Efforts to Stop Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Alabama, Nation

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 850 people killed in car accidents in Alabama in 2009. About 350 of these accident fatalities were alcohol-related, which more than 300 involved a car accident with a drunk driver.
With the holiday season here, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has launched its yearly Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. This campaign started back in November of 2006 and has been going on every year since then. With the fifth anniversary of the campaign, MADD released rankings for each state regarding their progress towards fighting drunk driving car accidents.

Our Montgomery drunk driving car accident lawyers understand that more than $130 billion is spent every year in the U.S. on costs resulting from drunk driving accidents. Overall, the country received a rating of three out of five stars in its efforts to stop the drunk driving problem. The state of Alabama also received three stars. The report says that our state uses high-visibility law enforcement tactics to help reduce the number of fatal drunk driving accidents throughout 2011. This year, Alabama was the last state to enact an ignition interlock law. Our state's law only pertains to those who are consider repeat offenders and those who are first-time offenders of drunk driving and reported a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher.

"While we have made great strides over the last 30 years, drunk driving is still the deadliest epidemic on America's roads, killing approximately 11,000 people every year," added U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

During the holiday season, the number of drunk driving accidents increases significantly on Alabama roadways and roadways across the country. This is why MADD chooses to hold this campaign effort in November. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's all within a short time, residents throughout the country will venture out to gatherings with family and friends. Unfortunately, many of these gathering offer alcoholic beverages and too many drivers choose to drink, to get behind the wheel and to drive home. The recent report ranks states and their ability to stop these intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel and to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents.

The report ranked state's on their countermeasures to deter drunk driving, including:

-Requiring offenders to drive with ignition interlock devices.

-The execution of sobriety checkpoints.

-Participating in "no-refusal" activities for those who are believed to be intoxicated behind the wheel.

-Enacting harsher penalties for those who operate a vehicle under the influence with child passengers.

-Enacting Administrative License Revocation for drunk driving offenders.

We ask all residents to enjoy the holiday season, but to do so safely. There's no reason to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Before you head out to holiday celebrations, make sure you have a sober driver to take you home or make plans to stay over somewhere.

Continue reading "MADD's Annual Campaign Ranking Efforts to Stop Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Alabama, Nation " »

December 13, 2011

Fatal Car Accidents in Alabama Increase despite Nationwide Decrease

Nearly 33,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in the United States throughout 2010. While this number is both a decrease from 2009 and the lowest recorded number since 1949. However, fatal car accidents in Alabama increased from 2009 to 2010 with more than 860 people killed on our roadways.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently put out the 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview, which is the most recent car accident statistics available.
While the number of roadway fatalities decreased, the number of injuries actually saw a significant increase. There were many categories of accidents that reported an increase in the number of fatalities as well, including fatalities among pedestrians, motorcyclists, van occupants, bicyclists and large truck occupants.

Our Montgomery car accident attorneys understand that the new, lower number of fatalities may be good news for many. But the fact that the number of fatalities started to increase during the last part of 2010 alarms others. As the economy continues to recover, travel experts predict that more motorists will be hitting our roadways. With more motorists on the roadway we can expect to experience increased risks for an accident. This is especially important as we enter the holiday season. Residents and visitors use this time to travel about the state to visit with friends and family members, that's why we typically see a significant increase in the number of serious traffic accidents in the month of December.

The NHTSA recently introduced two new measures to keep better count of the more common causes for accidents on our roadways, the "alcohol-impaired driving crashes" measure and the "distraction-affected crashes" measure. Alcohol-related accidents accounted for about a third of all traffic accident fatalities in the country during 2010. This new alcohol-related measure allows officials to categorize accidents with a more narrow definition of the term including only those crashes in which a motorist reported a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or above, the legal limit throughout the country.

Distraction-related accidents are also growing more common on our roadways. According to the most recent statistics, there were about 3,100 people killed in traffic accidents because of a distracted driver in 2010.

"The findings from our new attitude survey help us understand why some people continue to make bad decisions about driving distracted--but what's clear from all of the information we have is that driver distraction continues to be a major problem," said David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.

Accident types that produced an increase in fatalities in 2010:

-Motorcycle accidents.

-Accidents in urban areas.

-Pedestrian accidents.

-Bicyclist accidents.

-Large truck accidents.

-Van accidents.

-Injury accidents.

-Accidents in Alabama.

-Twenty states, including Alabama, reported an increase in the total number of fatalities from 2009 to 2010.

Continue reading "Fatal Car Accidents in Alabama Increase despite Nationwide Decrease" »

December 5, 2011

New Campaign to Curb Texting-Related Teen Car Accidents in Alabama, Nation

"OMG." It's not just some of the new lingo that teens use when they're text messaging, but it's the name of a new campaign that is sponsored by the U.S Department of Transportation to help stop teens from texting behind the wheel.

Teens text while driving more than any other age group of drivers and are at the highest risks for a distraction-related car accident in Montgomery and elsewhere, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a matter of fact, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the country. Car accidents take more lives than all illegal drugs combined.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's office is joining the fight against dangerous teen drivers, too. It recently held the city's annual teen driving summit, which took place this year at the Gardendale Civic Center, according to Alabama's 13. During the summit, the school resource division debuted a new high-tech tool to help keep teen drivers safe. The new tool is an interactive computer program called "drive-square." The driving simulator illustrates just how dangerous texting and driving is and what the consequences can be.

Our Montgomery car accident attorneys understand that drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving in the state of Alabama, according to the Governors Highway safety Association. Unfortunately, these young drivers don't always abide by this law and still make phone calls and text behind the wheel. We urge parents and young drivers to view the newly released PSA campaign as it will air nationwide on gas station pump-top screens that are owned by Outcast PumpTop TV.

"Teen drivers are particularly vulnerable to distracted driving, which is why we are making an extra effort to ensure they understand the dangers," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Young drivers can also see this video at Regal Cinemas and on the wesbite, in addition to gas pump screens across the nation. Through these mediums, the USDOT believes it can reach teens nationwide to truly raise awareness about the danger of texting at the wheel and the importance of focusing on driving only. Putting down the cell phones can help to save lives.

The holiday season is here and teenage drivers are ready to get some time off of school and head out on holiday vacations to see friends and family members. The new PSAs use popular text message phrases, including "L8R" and "LOL," to communicate with these hip drivers. The PSAs will be shown on nearly 7,000 movie screens in more than 535 theaters and at roughly 12,000 gas pumps around the country.

Greg Dunn, the President and COO of Regal Entertainment Group, says they he and his company hope that these PSAs can make a difference in the driving habits of teenagers and encourage them to pay attention to the roadways during the busy holiday travel season.

Continue reading "New Campaign to Curb Texting-Related Teen Car Accidents in Alabama, Nation " »

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