March 10, 2013

Montgomery Construction Accident Highlights Trench Work Dangers

A man conducting pipe repairs for the Alabama Department of Transportation in Bay Minette, about two hours south of Montgomery, was rushed to the hospital following a trench collapse. workhelmet.jpg

Our Montgomery construction accident attorneys understand that he was working in a hole when the dirt that surrounded him began to collapse. Other workers on the site were able to respond quickly and dig him out to safety.

But such incidents should never happen in the first place if those who manage the sites are adhering to the guidelines set forth by the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration.

The fact is, excavating is well-known to be one of the most dangerous jobs on a construction site. The greatest risk in a trench is a cave-in, like what happened here, and these incidents are much more likely than others on a job site to result in worker deaths. Consider that one cubic yard of soil can weigh as much as a car. Entering an unprotected trench is akin to walking into an early grave.

In addition to a cave-in, other potential problems workers in a trench might anticipate would be:


  • Falls;

  • Hazardous atmospheres;

  • Falling loads;

  • Mobile equipment failures.


If the trench you are in is more than five feet deep, there needs to be some sort of protective system in place to prevent a collapse. The only exception would be if the excavation site is comprised entirely of stable rock.

Trenches that are 20 feet deep or more need to be outfitted with a protective system that is designed by a professional, registered engineer. Safe access and egress devices have to be set up for workers in any kind of trench that is more than 4 feet deep.

Some other basic general guidelines that need to be followed in trench work includes:


  • Keeping all heavy equipment far away from the edges of a trench;

  • Any excavated soil or other materials should be a minimum of 2 feet away from the edge of the trench;

  • Site supervisors need to know where the underground utilities are located before the digging even starts;

  • With trenches greater than 4 feet deep, supervisors should be testing for potential atomospheric hazards, like low oxygen levels, toxic gases or hazardous fumes;

  • Make sure the trench isn't positioned under raised or suspended materials or loads;

  • If there is a situation or condition that could have altered the stability of the trench (such as heavy rain), it needs to be re-examined;

  • Everyone working inside the trench should be outfitted with bright, reflective clothing.


OSHA actually recommends that trenches be looked over every day by a "competent person" before a worker goes inside. This would be an individual who knows how to identify any existing or predictable dangers or working conditions that could pose a risk to employee health or safety.

Continue reading "Montgomery Construction Accident Highlights Trench Work Dangers" »

March 5, 2013

Alabama Teen Driver Deaths Spike in 2012

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a report with deeply troubling statistics. carspeed.jpg

Our Montgomery car accident lawyers understand that teen driver deaths were up nearly 20 percent in the first six months of 2012 (as compared to the same time frame in 2011). Alabama saw one of the greatest increases of all, with a 400 percent rise in the number of these tragedies.

The study was conducted by researcher Dr. Allan Williams, formerly the chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Fatality figures were collected for every state and Washington D.C.

The increase wasn't entirely unexpected, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had predicted that there would be a roughly 8 percent increase in the number of overall traffic deaths. However, the fact that we have 16- and 17-year-olds dying at an even more rapid rate is alarming.

And the fact that Alabama saw such a sharp increase - from 3 deaths from January through June 2011 to 12 in the same time frame in 2012 - leaves us deeply saddened. It also fuels our commitment to raising awareness of this issue, especially as we head into spring break, prom and graduation celebrations - all of which have historically been prime times for drunk driving, distracted driving and drowsy driving for teenagers.

Alabama was one of just six states in the country that saw such an alarming increase.

Researchers say part of the problem could be that the benefit we saw as a result of enacting graduated drivers licensing programs are beginning to level off, having been in place for a few years now.

Another factor is likely the improvement in the economy. At the height of the recession, teens were competing for low-wage, entry-level jobs with older adults with more experience. These lack of opportunities and income meant teens had less gas money so they weren't on the road as much. Now that we're beginning to see a shift, they are on the road more often, and that's more opportunities for crashes.

Some of those with a bit of extra income may likely be gearing up for spring break. For many, that could mean several-hour stretches on the road (which can lead to drowsy driving) with a handful of friends in the car (ample distraction).

Prom and graduation too are times when we tend to see increased risk, often due to drunk driving.

One thing that the GHSA noted that several other states are doing is hosting brief parent orientations to driver's education courses for teens. This is something Alabama doesn't do, but in light of the increase, it's certainly something we feel would be worth exploring.

Another point that really needs to be driven home to teenagers is that distracted driving is a deadly serious concern. It's gained a lot of attention from the media in recent years, and we worry that teens are becoming numb to it. Yet distracted driving continues to be a very real problem, especially among teens.

Last year, Alabama legislators enacted a ban on texting while driving, so we hope that year-end figures may reflect a decline as a result.

But parents can and should remain involved. First, there are a number of apps, both for iOS and Android phones that will lock the text and other functions if the vehicle is moving faster than 10 miles per hour. Also being a good example and following through when your child breaks the rules can be quite effective.

Continue reading "Alabama Teen Driver Deaths Spike in 2012" »

February 22, 2013

Tuscaloosa 5-Year-Old Killed in Pedestrian Collision

A kindergartner was killed earlier this month when she and her older cousin were hit by a truck while crossing the street near their home. sign1.jpg

Our Tuscaloosa pedestrian accident attorneys are heartbroken for the family of this 5-year-old, who reportedly died at the hospital after being rushed there by the driver of the truck.

According to local police, the driver is not expected to be charged with a crime. News reports indicate that the driver was stopped at an intersection, then proceeded forward and immediately realized he had hit something. He stopped, realized he had struck both girls, loaded them both in his truck and called 911 as he raced to the hospital.

It's unclear at this point whether there is anything the driver could have done differently to have prevented this incident. The 14-year-old cousin later told investigators that she believed the driver of the truck had stopped for her and the younger girl, which is why she proceeded into the intersection.

She too was injured, though she is expected to make a recovery. In a testament to what a small world we live in, the driver of the truck actually knows the family of the girl who was killed.

While the investigation is still ongoing, it highlights the importance of teaching our children pedestrian safety from a very young age. We know it may not prevent injury or wrongful death in every case, but we have a responsibility to do the best we can to arm them with information that will prompt them to use caution around moving vehicles.

Safety advocates suggest the following:


  • When your child is still a toddler, begin teaching her that she must always hold an adult's hand when near the road and must never enter the road alone.

  • Explain to even young children the importance of paying attention to their surroundings when they are out walking - especially when crossing the street.

  • Make sure children know that they must always stop, look and listen before stepping into the street.

  • Teach your preschooler to stay on the sidewalk. If she is crossing, teach her to first stop, look both ways - twice - and listen closely for oncoming traffic. Walk school routes with them, and have them help you decide when it might be safe to cross the street.

  • Make it a general rule for your child to make eye contact with a driver at an intersection before crossing the street.

  • Instruct your children about crosswalk signs, and what each signal means. Teach her how to press the button and determine when it is safe and unsafe to cross.

  • Teach your child to look both ways even when the signal has given the go-ahead.

  • Make sure your child knows to be extra careful when walking past driveways, especially those that are obstructed or hidden. Same rules apply for crossing street corners and alleys.

  • Elementary school children should be taught about bicycle safety rules, as well as the basics of driving safety. They should have a basic understanding of what red, yellow and green lights mean and how they should react tho them as pedestrians.

Continue reading "Tuscaloosa 5-Year-Old Killed in Pedestrian Collision" »

February 17, 2013

Alabama Trucking Accident Risks Heightened By Bad Weather

A serious accident involving two 18-wheelers on I-459 in Hoover is under investigation by local authorities. dangeroustruck1.jpg

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys were amazed to learn that no one was hurt in the crash, though we weren't surprised to learn that yet another trucking accident had occurred on the highway.

Although it's not yet clear whether the weather was a factor in this crash, we do know that it occurred just two days after a huge swath of Northern Alabama was under a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service, with a mix of rain, sleet and snow causing particularly treacherous conditions on elevated roadways and bridges.

This is relatively common this time of year in our state. Although the southern half of the state is noted for its more tropical climate, Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile have been known to drop several degrees below freezing, and in some cases can see a foot or more of snow, according to to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All of this is compounded by the fact that winter brings shorter days and longer nights. Given that the majority of crashes occur after dark, this combination can be deadly.

Truckers can't be held responsible for the weather, obviously, but they can be held liable for a negligent reaction to it. They are (or should be) trained to know when road conditions or poor visibility requires them to slow down or even pull over. There are also industry-wide federal guidelines with regard to how much weight these vehicles can safely haul and how long of a stretch drivers can safely go before a dangerous level of fatigue begins to set in.

And yet, we continue to see serious crashes resulting from actions and behaviors that are entirely preventable.

It then becomes incumbent upon motorists who share the road with these large vehicles to take safety into their own hands. While you should always drive defensively and without distractions, this is doubly important in the midst of inclement weather and at night.

As you grab your keys and head out the door, keep these safety tips in mind:


  • Slow down and leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you.

  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If you find your wheels locking up, ease off the brake.

  • Make sure your lights are on.

  • Keep your windshield and lights clean.

  • Use your high beams whenever possible - just remember to dim them for oncoming traffic.

  • If the road is icy, refrain from putting the car in overdrive or cruise control.

  • Look away from headlights coming in your direction, as they can temporarily blind you.

  • Use extra caution on bridges, overpasses or roads less traveled. These will be the first to freeze.

  • Don't pass snow plows or sanding trucks.

  • If you suspect your vehicle may not be able to handle the road, stay home. Same goes if you think you might be too tired to drive.

Continue reading "Alabama Trucking Accident Risks Heightened By Bad Weather" »

February 10, 2013

Millions of Vehicles, Car Products, Recalled in 2012, Says NHTSA

Hundreds of recalls alerting consumers to millions of potentially defective vehicles and vehicle products were announced over the last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. carspeed.jpg

While it's good news that these products are no longer on the market, our Montgomery personal injury lawyers find it appalling that so many companies would put the public in harm's way. Manufacturers, even if they aren't aware of the risk they have posed, have a responsibility and an obligation to fully vet their products before making them available for sale. Vehicles are among the largest investments a family makes, and can take years to pay off. At a minimum, they should be free from defects that could result in serious or fatal injuries.

In addition to the vehicles themselves, the 650 recalls announced last year by those in the auto industry included some 60,000 items of vehicle equipment, which would include things like faulty child safety seats and unsafe tires. In all, the recalls affected nearly 18 million vehicles and vehicle-related products.

To put the scope of this into perspective, assuming no consumer was hit by two vehicle recalls in the same year, that would affect roughly 9.3 percent of licensed drivers, or roughly one out of every 10 you pass on the road.

Maybe it was you?

By far, the NHTSA rates the worst offenders as:


  • Toyota (12 recalls affecting more than 5.3 million vehicles);

  • Honda (16 recalls affecting more than 3.3 million vehicles);

  • General Motors (17 recalls affecting more than 1.4 million vehicles);

  • Fort Motor Company (24 recalls affecting nearly 1.4 million vehicles)

  • Chrysler Group (13 recalls affecting more than 1.3 million vehicles).


Other companies with a high number of recalls include BMW (15), Nissan (13), Daimler Trucks (21), Navistar (20), Prevost Cars (16), Blue Bird Body Company (12) and Ducati (10). Most other companies had under 10 recalls.

For Toyota, its recalls included problems with Prius models' steering intermediate extension shafts, which could suffer damage if a sharp turn was made at a slow speed. There was also an issue with the electric motor pumps that could result in a system failure during operation. In another model, there was also a power window problem that posed a fire risk.

Hondas recalls included a roll-away problem after drivers had removed the keys from the ignition. We know of at least two people who were injured as a result of this problem, including one person who suffered a broken leg after being run over by his van even though he had removed the key from the ignition.

General Motors' recalls included problems with fuel leaks - particularly in hot-weather states.

Ford - which had the distinction of the most recalls for 2012 - had to recall some 90,000 vehicles in one instance due to overheating that could spark a fire in two of its best-selling models. At least 13 vehicle fires were reported, though no one was hurt. Others involved a swatch of carpet that could block the gas pedal in its Escape models and others involved coolant leaks from the freeze plugs.

Finally, Chrysler's recalls involved the removal of more than 900,000 Jeeps with airbags that might deploy unexpectedly or without warning while the vehicle was being operated.

Continue reading "Millions of Vehicles, Car Products, Recalled in 2012, Says NHTSA" »

February 1, 2013

Alabama Car Accidents Surge on Super Bowl Sunday

The widely anticipated Super Bowl XLVII Sunday showdown of the San Francisco 49ers versus the Baltimore Ravens will kick-off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time. beer.jpg

Our Montgomery personal injury lawyers are expecting a great game. Unfortunately, we're also expecting a spike in DUI car accidents this weekend and into the early hours of Monday morning as well.

It's the most popular broadcast on television, with some 130 million American viewers tuning in live each year.

A 2003 study conducted by the researchers at the University of Toronto and published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined nationwide DUI crash statistics for nearly 30 consecutive Super Bowl games.

The study showed that overall, the number of crashes in the hour after the game ends jumps by nearly 70 percent.

Most people would say the reasons why are fairly simple: People drink alcohol when they watch football, and are sometimes irresponsible and get behind the wheel after doing so. This is true, but there are a number of other contributing factors as well. For example, the game doesn't typically end until late in the evening. Statistically, more crashes happen at night and this also contributes to driver fatigue. Additionally, there is a lot of "Monday morning quarterbacking" that goes on during the drive home - replaying all the what-if's and recounting all the best or most disappointing plays. This inevitably contributes to driver inattention.

This phenomena is more pronounced among fans whose team has just lost. In fact, researchers found that while DUI crashes rose by 68 percent in states where the home team lost, they increased by just 6 percent in states where the home team won. Overall "neutral" states saw an increase of about 50 percent.

In general, we know that alcohol is involved in nearly 40 percent of all fatal traffic accidents claiming the lives of 16 to 20-year-olds. Unfortunately, many professional football players aren't setting a prime example for these youth, with many recent headlines chastising the National Football League for its seemingly laissez faire attitude regarding numerous players arrested for drunk driving. USA Today sports writer Jarrett Bell scolded the agency saying it "should be ashamed of its weak DUI policy."

Law enforcement officials have known anecdotally for years that DUI crashes and arrests climbed significantly on Super Bowl Sunday, prompting them to organize checkpoints and roving patrols in an effort to nab offenders. This year will be no different. Alabama authorities have pledged to be out in full force.

Sadly, they won't catch everyone. We encourage all Super Bowl fans to consider the following before kick-off:


  • Before the party starts, designate a sober driver.

  • Pace your alcohol consumption by alternating with non-alcoholic drinks and eat plenty of food.

  • If it comes time to leave and you are drunk or buzzed without a designated driver, call a friend, call a taxi or stay where you are. Whatever you do, don't get behind the wheel.

  • If you see a friend about to drive drunk, intervene.

Continue reading "Alabama Car Accidents Surge on Super Bowl Sunday" »

January 27, 2013

Report: Alabama Car Accident Prevention Laws Need Improvement

Our Montgomery personal injury lawyers note a recent national report details the activity of each state legislature over the past year as it relates to car accident prevention and highway safety.roadinnorthernwisconsin.jpg

Alabama didn't fare as well as we would have hoped. It was given a mid-level "yellow light" rating by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which released its "2013 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws" earlier this month.

The state had nearly 900 fatalities attributed to car accidents in 2011, bringing the 10-year total to more than 10,200. Every year, that costs the state an average of $2.8 billion, not only in property damage, but in emergency services, hospitalization, lost wages and disability benefits.

This alone should be enough of an incentive to spur action by our elected representatives. But adding to the persuasion is the fact that federal money is available through the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (or MAP-21) for those states that are successful in the passage of certain traffic safety initiatives. Last year, the federal government approved setting aside billions of dollars for this specific purpose.

When you consider the funds taxpayers have to shell out due to motor vehicle crashes each year (more than $230 billion nationwide), it makes a great deal of sense. That's in addition to the fact that more than 32,000 people were killed in America in car crashes in 2011, another 2.2 million were injured and traffic accidents remained the No. 1 cause of death for young people between the ages of 5 and 24. In fact, some 1,150 children under the age of 14 were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2011.

Alabama is not the only state with work to do. The advocacy group notes that there are 316 laws that need to be adopted in all states and the District of Columbia in order to meet the research group's recommendations for basic safety laws. These measures touch on everything from driver cell phone restrictions to motorcycle helmet requirements to graduated driver's licenses for teens.

Specifically in Alabama, we have our work cut out for us. The recommended laws that we have yet to pass include:


  • A law requiring children age 7 and younger to ride in a booster and/or car seat;

  • A graduated driver's license program for teens that would include provision for 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving, an age 16 minimum for learner's permits, tighter nighttime restrictions, stronger cell phone restrictions and an age 18 minimum for an unrestricted license;

  • Ignition interlock requirements for all DUI offenders - not just those with multiple arrests and convictions.


Booster seat laws have been shown to reduce the risk of injury in children ages 5 to 7 by nearly 60 percent. Those in side-impact crashes were found to benefit the most, with the risk of injury reduced by nearly 70 percent.

With regard to teen driving, we know that young teens (15, 16 and 17) are far more likely than older drivers (even their 18 and 19-old peers) to get into motor vehicle crashes. A lot of that is due to inexperience. That's why graduated driver's license programs are so important. They allow teens to gradually gain the skills needed to be safe drivers.

And lastly, ignition interlock requirements for all DUI offenders should be a no-brainer. If you drive drunk, that's the price you should have to pay. Some people have taken the stance that first-time offenders shouldn't be dealt with as harshly because they may be social drinkers who made a mistake. But Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that most offenders, by the time they receive their first DUI, have already made roughly 90 trips behind the wheel while impaired. The rest of us should not be giving a free pass to those who put all of our lives in danger.

Continue reading "Report: Alabama Car Accident Prevention Laws Need Improvement" »

January 22, 2013

Alabama Gun Accidents & the Risk of Child Injury

A fatal gun accident in Tuscaloosa claimed the life of a 13-year-old boy and coincides with the proposal to lift the federal immunity of gun manufacturers, dealers and trade groups in negligence and product liability lawsuits.

Our Montgomery personal injury lawyers understand that some lawmakers say these entities need to take reasonable precautions to avoid inherent design flaws, improper firearm storage and for putting guns in the hands of those likely to do harm. 1152740_in_war.jpg

In this case, a tragedy happened during a group rabbit hunting excursion at a club in north Sumter County. In addition, there could be an issue of premise liability, and whether the facility was equipped for the safe handling and storage of these weapons. And finally, it could be that the individual whose hand was on the trigger was not being as responsible as would be prudent.

We're still learning more about this case, so it remains to be seen. Hunting accidents in Alabama are tragic. However, most of the emphasis when it comes to gun violence is being placed on mass shootings. Certainly the gun industry is facing heat like it hasn't in several decades. Alabama has a long and proud history of gun ownership and support for guns. However, gun ownership comes with a responsibility to prevent accidental injuries, especially those involving children.

According to local news reports, the eighth-grader was with a group of fellow teens who had just finished their trip. They were reportedly putting the guns away and believed the weapons were empty when one accidentally went off, killing the young teen.

Authorities are not pursuing a criminal investigation, and are instead treating the incident as an accident.

Of course, the legislative proposal to repeal the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is in direct response not to this, but rather to the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in which 20 elementary students and six adults were killed by a lone gunman who ambushed the school.

The 2005 law was initially passed by the National Rifle Association and other gun enthusiasts, who complained bitterly about the expense of battling these sorts of negligence lawsuits.

But perhaps the bigger issue is neglect with regard to gun owners who don't properly store their weapons or teach their children gun safety. In fact, accidental child deaths caused by guns are not rare - being among the top 10 leading cause of death for all child age groups outside of newborns and infants. In 2010, there were a reported 114 child deaths and 3,060 nonfatal incidents involving guns.

In order to prevent these types of incidents, proper gun storage and education is key. As a general rule, if you have guns and small children, make it a point to:

Keep your guns locked;

Keep your guns unloaded;

Keep your ammunition locked;

Keep your ammunition in an area separate from your gun.


You also want to make it a point to teach your child the importance of extreme caution around weapons. Try to use specific examples, such as what to do if a friend shows you a gun or if they see a gun in a classmate's backpack or if they find one while playing outdoors.

Continue reading "Alabama Gun Accidents & the Risk of Child Injury" »

January 10, 2013

New Report Quantifies Drowsy Driving Risks in Alabama

In November, our Montgomery injury lawyers discussed our support for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week and the risks associated with exhausted drivers behind the wheel. We mentioned that drowsy driving is dangerous for everyone, including teens and professional drivers, and discussed that drowsy driving can be just as serious as driving drunk.

Now, a new report is out indicating that drowsy driving awareness is more important than ever. The New York Times covered the report in a January 4th article and the details are enough to make any driver concerned. 897022_taking_a_nap_v2.jpg

Drowsy Driving a Widespread Risk
With around 730 fatal accidents in 2009 attributed to drowsy driving, government researchers decided to take action to get a little more information about the scope of the problem. According to the New York Times, an epidemiologist working at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention undertook a widespread survey on the dangers of drowsy driving.

The survey involved numerous detailed questions about daily activities including sleep habits, work habits and driving habits. The study was administered to 147,000 adults across 19 different states as well as the District of Columbia and it shed a lot of light on just how many people are choosing to drive when they are fatigued. According to the survey respondents:


  • Approximately 4 percent of adults nationwide admitted that they had fallen asleep while they were driving.

  • Men were more likely to report driving while fatigued than women.

  • At least five percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 44 admitted to drowsy driving. Youth were the largest group of drowsy drivers.

  • The number of people driving while fatigued declines with age. Only 1.7 percent of people aged 65 and older reported driving while drowsy.

  • Snoring and short sleep duration were both associated with a greater likelihood of drowsy driving. Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep and breathing challenges while sleeping, which can help to explain why those who snore are more likely to be tired behind the wheel.

These statistics should be cause for concern for every driver. Although 4 percent of people falling asleep behind the wheel may not seem like much, when you consider how many drivers there are, that is millions and millions of people who might be nodding off.

Is There Hope for Curbing Drowsy Driving Dangers?
While the new survey reported in the New York Times indicates that the dangers of drowsy driving are quite widespread, there is hope that people are getting help and trying to improve their sleeping habits, which could curb drowsy driving risks.

On December 19, for example, Money News reported that more Americans than ever before have been seeking help for sleep disturbances.

According to the Money News Article, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine announced that it has accredited its 2,500th sleep center. This is a record high since the first center was accredited back in 1977 and there are now five times more sleep centers than were in business a decade ago. The increase in the number of centers has been prompted by more Americans than ever being proactive in solving problems related to insufficient sleep.

As Americans increasingly seek treatment for problems impacting their sleep, the hope is that there will be fewer drowsy drivers on the road and that the roads will become a safer place for everyone.

Continue reading "New Report Quantifies Drowsy Driving Risks in Alabama" »

January 3, 2013

Alabama Traffic Safety: Make Safe Driving Your 2013 Holiday Resolution

On the last day of 2012 before the New Year dawned, Alabama.com took a look at some resolutions from some big names throughout the state. Resolutions from Tuscaloosa officials and business owners, as well as from UA Athletes, included things like being on time, working harder and eating healthier. One thing noticeably absent from the list, however, was a resolution to be a better, safer driver in 2013.

Each year, millions of people throughout Alabama and the United States make downright bad driving decisions. These decisions put the drivers, their passengers and every innocent person on the road in danger. Our Montgomery accident attorneys want 2013 to be the year when people become safer drivers by doing more to avoid preventable accidents. To that end, we urge everyone to make smarter, safer driving choices and to make a resolution to avoid some of the most dangerous driving behaviors. 1396134_new_year_13.jpg

Resolve to Avoid These Dangerous Driving Behaviors in 2013.
If you are ready to make a commitment to becoming a safer driver in 2013, here are a few things that should be a part of your New Years 2013 resolution:


  • Resolve not to speed. Going over the speed limit was the cause of 2,666 Alabama traffic crashes in 2010 according to Alabama Traffic Crash Facts.

  • Resolve to slow down -- even BELOW the speed limit if you have to in order to be safe for the current road conditions. In 2010, there were 4,836 Alabama crashes caused by a driver going too fast for conditions. This is even more crashes than caused by going over the posted speed limit.

  • Resolve not to text and drive or to drive distracted. Distraction.gov says that a person who texts and drives is 23 times more likely to crash than someone not distracted.

  • Resolve never to drink and drive and never to let a friend drive drink. Alabama Traffic Crash Facts show 4,784 accidents in 2010 attributed to a driver being under the influence.

  • Resolve to obey safety laws at intersections and to yield when it isn't your turn. 15.2 percent of all Alabama crashes in 2010 were caused by a failure to yield, according to Alabama Crash Facts. This means 19,508 accidents listed a failure to yield as a primary accident cause.

  • Resolve to exercise extra care with night driving. According to Alabama Traffic Crash Facts for 2010, 49.4 percent of fatal crashes occurred at night.

  • Resolve to be on the lookout for bikes and pedestrians at all times. In 2010, seven people died and 169 were injured in bike accidents. Young kids tend to be at the greatest risk when it comes to bike and pedestrian crashes with Alabama Traffic Crash Facts reporting that kids 15 and under were the victims in 27 percent of bike crashes causing injury.

  • Resolve not to tailgate or follow too closely behind others. Alabama Traffic Crash Facts show that 17,268 crashes in 2010 were caused by tailgating. That's 76 percent of accidents.

  • Resolve to wear your seat belt all the time, every time. Alabama Traffic Crash Facts reported that the chances of being killed in the front seat was 46.4 times higher for people not wearing a seat belt when involved in a car crash.

If you stick to all of the items on this list, you can make sure you are never a menace on the roads.

Of course, accidents can still happen if other people fail in their obligations. This is why you should spread the word about your safe driving resolution to all of your friends and family members and encourage them to make 2013 the year they resolve to be a safer driver. If you spot someone engaged in dangerous driving behavior, be sure to steer clear... and if you are hurt in an accident due to a bad choice that another driver makes, be sure to take legal action to hold that bad driver accountable.

Continue reading "Alabama Traffic Safety: Make Safe Driving Your 2013 Holiday Resolution" »

December 27, 2012

Alabama Drunk Driving Accidents a Holiday Risk

In 2011, there were 259 drunk driving deaths in the state of Alabama and drunk driving was a factor in 29 percent of all traffic deaths according to MADD statistics. These deaths were tragic and avoidable, and are a reminder that it is very important to refrain from drinking and driving this holiday season.

Over the holidays, the number of drinking and driving deaths normally increases as two of the biggest drinking days of the year are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and New Years Eve. Our Montgomery accident attorneys want to remind everyone of the dangers; we urge you to stay safe and keep your friends and family safe over the holidays. 1174747_by_a_beer.jpg

Drunk Driving and the Holiday Season

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is supporting a national drunk-driving prevention campaign called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. As part of the campaign, traffic safety offices throughout the U.S. are partnering with the GHSA to launch public education campaigns and to step up enforcement of drunk driving laws.

In Alabama, the Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Division is participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Efforts. Their efforts include:


  • Establishing checkpoints, especially in areas where high numbers of crashes related to alcohol have occurred in the past.

  • Using social media to educate the public of holiday alcohol dangers.

  • Hosting events to increase awareness of holiday drunk driving.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will run from December 13 through January 1. Maximum enforcement efforts, including an increase in law enforcement and the establishment of DUI checkpoints, will occur during the highest risk days including New Years Eve.

How to Stay Safe
While the efforts of law enforcement may help to stop drunk drivers before they do any danger to themselves or others, ultimately it is up to each individual to make the choice for himself or herself to be smart and not drink and drive.

When you are going out this holiday season, it is important that you make the wise choice to protect yourself, your passengers and innocent drivers who have to share the road. Some of the things you should do include:


  • Always having a designated driver whenever you are going to be consuming alcohol. If you are going out to celebrate, you should name your designated driver prior to going out so that everyone is on the same page.

  • Stepping in if you see your friend's make dangerous choices. If you believe that your friend is too drunk to drive, take his or her keys, call a taxi or do whatever it takes to get him home safe.

  • Having the phone number of a taxi with you whenever you are going out drinking and bringing enough money to pay for a cab if necessary.

  • Talking to your teenagers about drunk driving if you are a parent, and making a house rule that they can always call for a ride no matter what.

By making the choice not to drink and drive, you can potentially prevent a devastating accident. You also need to be aware that there may be more drunk drivers out over the holidays and be watchful for others who might be driving erratically and who could cause you to be harmed in a crash.

Continue reading "Alabama Drunk Driving Accidents a Holiday Risk" »

December 18, 2012

Accident Fatalities Up Throughout Alabama

The number of trucker, pedestrian, bicyclist and motorcyclist fatalities is on the rise.

While officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are focusing on an overall reduction in traffic deaths nationwide, the fact remains some of our most vulnerable travelers continue to face increased risks on the road.
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We're not discrediting the decrease, we're just saying that maybe a little more attention needs to be paid to the categories that are seeing significant increases in fatal accidents. Our Montgomery accident lawyers understand that there was a near 2 percent decrease in the number of highway fatalities overall. The numbers dropped to less than 32,400 in 2011, making it the lowest number witnessed in the U.S. since 1949. Sounds promising, but did you know that Americans drove less in 2011 than in 2010? And that number is back on the rise amid a recovering economy and falling gas prices.

"As we look to the future, it will be more important than ever to build on this progress by continuing to tackle head-on issues like seat belt use, drunk driving, and driver distraction," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Officials with the NHTSA report that there was a more than 1 percent drop in the number of vehicle miles traveled among Americans in 2011. Fewer miles driven means that drivers are spending less time on the road and are seeing fewer risks for accidents.

In the state of Alabama, there were close to 1,000 people killed in traffic accidents in 2011, according to statistics released this week. This serves as a more than 3.5 percent increase from the previous year. So much for any of that good news affecting us. Our drivers are facing more dangers across the board.

The largest increase in fatalities nationwide was among motorcycle riders. There were 80 motorcyclists killed in 2010 and close to 140 killed in 2011, illustrating a near 90 percent increase.

The number of distracted-driving car accident fatalities saw a steep increase too. Even with all of the newly-enacted distracted driving laws and with the advancements in hands-free technology, we're still seeing thousands die on our roadways because of careless driving.

Females may be getting a little safer behind the wheel. According to the most recent statistics, there was a drop of over 500 fatalities among females.

Head up! Fridays were a little safer in 2011 than they were in 2010. There were actually close to 400 fewer fatalities witnessed on Fridays in 2011.

Overall, there were 36 states that saw a reduction in the number of traffic fatalities. But the work is far from over!

We're not trying to focus on the bad news, we just want to bring it to your attention so we can all make the proper changes needed to improve roadway safety. Some of the simplest moves can help to reduce these accident risks. Wear a seat belt, stay sober behind the wheel and pay attention. The truth of the matter is that most traffic accidents are preventable.

Continue reading "Accident Fatalities Up Throughout Alabama" »

December 12, 2012

Alabama Injury Lawyers: Talk To Your Teens About Safe Driving This Holiday Season

According to a publication called "Alabama's Teenage Drivers at Risk," auto accidents involving teenagers are a critical problem and one that requires immediate attention.

The CDC also reports that auto accidents are the number one cause of death in kids between the ages of 16 and 19. Many of these accidents occur either when a teen is driving or when he or she is in the car with friends.

These statistics are frightening to parents, but it is important for parents to read them and to be aware of the risks that their kids face. Parents who know of the dangers of teen driving can talk to their kids about staying safe. As winter approaches, our Montgomery accident lawyers believe that this holiday season is the perfect time for parents to sit down with their kids and go over some driving risks and driving rules. 1140184_heather.jpg

Talk To Your Kids About Alabama Auto Accidents
The holiday season is a time when the weather gets bad and many kids may face driving in winter conditions for the first time. The holiday season is also a time when college kids may come home from school, driving long distances. With holiday vacations and so many parties and celebrations going on, kids may also spend more time driving during the holidays. For all of these reasons, the risk of accidents may increase.

The holidays are not only the most dangerous driving times, but they also present parents with the opportunity to spend time with their kids. During this time, it is a good idea to go over safe driving tips and to help your children to better understand how dangerous driving can be.

Alabama Auto Accident Risks for Teen Drivers
When you talk to your kids about car accidents and the risks they face, it is helpful for you and your children to understand just how serious the problem is. According to "Alabama's Teenage Drivers at Risk," an AAA publication:


  • There were 708 fatalities among teenagers in Alabama from 2004 and 2008.

  • Teen drivers ages 15 to 19 suffered 38,233 injuries in car wrecks between 2004 and 2008.

The crash data in Alabama indicates that every single day in the state, there were 21 injuries or deaths among teenagers in auto accidents. This is a staggering number of teens each day who experienced life-changing injuries or who lost their lives.

What Should You Know
As parents, it is important to make sure your kids not only know the risks but also understand the most dangerous driving behaviors. There are many top causes of teen car accidents but some of the most common reasons for wrecks included speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving and drowsy driving.

Teens especially may be at risk of driving distracted or driving when they are too tired. Distraction.gov, for example, reports that fatal wrecks with teens involved a distracted driver in 11 percent of cases. Further, the outcome of an AAA study published in Auto Blog revealed that drowsy driving was a bigger problem among teens than among the general population, and that teens were less likely to stop and rest if they were nodding off or exhibiting diminished ability to drive due to being tired.

Parents should discuss these specific behaviors with their teens and should forbid driving late at night, after having had a drink, or when talking or texting on a cell phone. Parents should also discuss the dangers of speeding, tailgating, aggressive driving, failure to yield, or failing to use proper turn signals.

For parents who want to go a step further in educating their kids and in enforcing safe driving rules, the website of the Alabama Department of Public health http://www.adph.org/teendriving/Default.asp?id=4448 also has a driving contract that parents and kids can sign that outlines the requirements and limitations of a teen having the privilege to drive.

Continue reading "Alabama Injury Lawyers: Talk To Your Teens About Safe Driving This Holiday Season" »

December 5, 2012

BLS Data on Workplace Injuries Highlights Risks of Alabama Work Accidents

In October, our Montgomery work accident attorneys discussed the release of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on fatal Alabama work accidents. The 4,609 people who died in 2011 in workplace accidents represent only a small portion of those who were involved in workplace accidents during the year.

Unfortunately, many more people suffered injuries of varying degrees of severity.

Reviewing BLS data on workplace injuries in 2011 shows that an injury can occur in any field or any location. While some industries such as construction are inherently more dangerous than others, no one is immune from a potential accident on the job. As such, every worker and employer needs to be aware of workplace accident risks and needs to take steps to improve and encourage safety. 1170139_worker_and_the_excavator.jpg

Workplace Injuries in 2011
In addition to their data on workplace deaths in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also provides a report on Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. According to the BLS:


  • Almost 3 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses acquired at private sector workplaces were reported in 2011. This means that 3.5 injuries occurred for every 100 full-time workers in the private sector.

  • Among state and local government workers, there were approximately 820,900 cases of workplace injury and illness reported in 2011. This means that, on average, there were 5.7 injury cases for every 100 full-time workers. Although this means that the rate of government employees injured is significantly higher than the rate of private sector employees injured, this is not an increase over past years.

  • The majority of the injuries suffered by government workers -- almost four out of every five -- were suffered by those employed in local government.

  • More than half of the three million injuries suffered in private industries in 2011 were serious enough to require a worker miss at least some days of work.

  • The overall rate of injuries and illnesses that were serious enough to lead to restriction or job transfer declined in 2011.

  • The rates of illness and injury increased in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. This sector was one of only two private sectors that had an increased number of illnesses and injuries from 2010 to 2011.

  • The rate of injuries in both the healthcare industry and the social assistance industry declined, as did the rate of injury in retail establishments including grocery stores.

  • Workplace illnesses accounted for around 5.2 percent of the total number of non-fatal workplace injuries. The majority of reports of workplace illness came from goods producing industries.

These statistics also demonstrated clearly that injuries can happen anywhere. Although workers in animal production; workers in beverage and tobacco manufacturing; and couriers and messengers had some of the highest incidents or injury, even merchants and car salesmen were reported to have recordable cases of workplace injury.

While workplace injuries are always going to occur, employers should ensure that they do everything possible to reduce the risk of work accidents. This includes complying with all OSHA regulations and having clear and well-enforced company safety policies.

Continue reading "BLS Data on Workplace Injuries Highlights Risks of Alabama Work Accidents" »

November 28, 2012

Alabama Injury Attorneys Warn of Holiday Shopping Dangers

Since Thanksgiving officially kicks off the festive season, many people will be spending time at the mall over the next month, doing their holiday shopping. Buying gifts for your loved ones is supposed to be fun, but unfortunately, there are some risks associated with hitting the stores over the holidays.

Our Montgomery accident lawyers want to draw your attention to some of the biggest risks of holiday shopping so you can avoid these potential pitfalls. We also urge store owners, managers and employees to do their part in making the shopping experience safe since ultimately it is these commercial property owners who are responsible when something goes wrong. 864602_escalator_2.jpg

Holiday Shopping Dangers
Awareness is the first step to staying safe this holiday season, and there are many different risks that you should be alert to when you are buying gifts. For instance according to Alabama.com, Montgomery police warn crime prevention is important when making holiday purchases. Among other tips, police recommend you remain alert, carry minimal cash, use ATMs only in well-populated areas, avoid overloading yourself with packages, and check your vehicle carefully before entering.

While theft issues are often given a lot of attention during the holidays, these risks aren't the only ones that shoppers face. In fact, there are many potential hazards that can arise when shopping and cause injury. Dangers include:


  • Escalator and elevator accidents. America Now News cautioned readers that escalator accidents are becoming more common and warns that these accidents can be deadly. Each year, more than 10,000 people are hurt on escalators, 70 percent of whom are injured in falls.

  • Icy, wet or slippery floors. Winter weather combined with crowds of shoppers creates a recipe for disaster. Shoppers track ice and snow into stores where it melts and creates a serious fall risk.

  • Parking lots and stores with inadequate security. If a parking lot or store doesn't have a sufficient security presence, this creates a dangerous situation for patrons. Without adequate security, for example, you have a greater chance of being robbed in the store or when going out to your car. You also have a greater chance of being injured if a crowd gets out of hand and there are no security personnel present to do crowd control.

  • Improperly stocked merchandise. Stores may get busy over the holiday season and may not keep up when it comes to properly stocking shelves. There may be a lot of people putting items back on shelves where they don't belong, and stores may try to overfill their shelves so they don't run out of popular items. All of this creates a situation where there is a good chance that merchandise could fall and injure shoppers.

These are just some of the many potential risks that you can run into at a store or mall during the holiday season. Many of these risks are preventable if stores follow reasonable procedures to ensure their premise is safe for customers.

If a store fails in its obligation to make the premises safe, the store can be held liable for any injuries that shoppers experience. Shoppers who have suffered an injury should consider talking to a lawyer to find out if the store can be held responsible and to learn about what types of compensation may be available after an injury.

Continue reading "Alabama Injury Attorneys Warn of Holiday Shopping Dangers " »


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