All across the state of Alabama, drunk driving accidents cause unnecessary injuries, death and family tragedy. But among all of the cities and towns in Alabama, Huntsville ranks as number one in the number of drunk driving arrests. This is not a single year anomaly; this is the 15th straight year in which Huntsville has ranked first.
A 43-year-old bicyclist was transported to Huntsville Hospital with broken bones and "non life-threatening" injuries this week after being struck by a car at the intersection of Bonnell Drive and Barrington Road. It was the fifth bicycle accident in the Huntsville area since the beginning of April and the sixth of 2012.
Accidents can happen anywhere on Alabama's roadways. But there are certain spots that have a higher risk of motor vehicle accidents than others. This includes blind corners and interstate entrance and exit ramps. Intersections, one of the most basic components of our roads can be among the most dangerous.
In the last few decades passenger vehicles have become a great deal safer due to technological safety improvements. Many of these safety improvements are a direct result of crash test research designed to learn more about how occupants of a vehicle are injured during a car accident. This data combined with information from real life car accidents allows manufacturers to design better and safer cars.
Two of the biggest vehicles that use out highways in Alabama are commercial trucks and busses. Accidents involving either of these types of vehicles tend to be serious due to the size and weight of the vehicles. Of course when a bus is involved there is a heightened risk for a large number of injuries if the bus is full of passengers.
Earlier this week we posed the question of whether drunk driving laws in Alabama are sufficient to curb drivers from getting behind the wheel after they have been drinking. A recent accident puts this question into sharper focus as the man responsible for the accident, and who according to the police report was driving under the influence, is not yet facing any criminal charges.
As you know, drunk driving accidents can cause very serious injuries and fatal accidents. Fortunately, great strides have been made in informing the public about the dangers of driving under the influence. While the public awareness campaign has certainly been useful, it is reasonable to wonder if we are nearing, or have surpassed a saturation point. Doesn't everyone now know that drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. Those individuals most likely to be influenced by these public service announcements have likely already stopped drinking and driving.
Safety on our roadways depends on each driver following the rules of the road and taking seriously their responsibility to drive in a safe manner than does not endanger others. There are those times when even if a driver is technically following the rules, they may cause a car accident due to a negligent act or lack in judgment. While a driver is still responsible for the consequences of their actions, these lapses in judgment may sometimes be understandable. What is more striking is when a driver causes a serious accident because they have violated one of the most basic of traffic laws.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of serious car accidents in Huntsville and across the country. Thirty-seven states have already imposed some legal limits on drivers' use of their mobile phones while operating a motor vehicle. Last week, the Alabama legislature passed a bill that would ban texting while driving. It now awaits a signature from the Governor.