Home Contributed Increased Alabama Traffic Fatalities Linked to Not Using Seat Belts
Increased Alabama Traffic Fatalities Linked to Not Using Seat Belts
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Increased Alabama Traffic Fatalities Linked to Not Using Seat Belts

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In Alabama, distracted driving, not wearing seatbelts, alcohol, and speed are all contributing to a significant rise in traffic fatalities.

Through October 31 of 2016, there have been 559 fatalities as a result of traffic accidents on Alabama highways. Through October 31 of 2015, however, 128 fewer — 431 — fatalities occurred on those same highways.

According to Dothan Eagle, drivers are driving faster than ever, drinking before getting behind the wheel more, not paying attention to the road as much, and continuing to not wear their seat belts.

“It is definitely alarming. We are working more and more accidents and the response from people involved in accidents is always, ‘I never thought it would happen to me.’ Well, it can,” said Trooper Kevin Cook of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, drivers ages 18 to 34 were far less likely to wear their seatbelts compared to drivers over 35. And men are roughly 10% less likely to wear seat belts than women.

“I hear people that don’t use safety belts say they don’t use them because something might happen and they may roll into a lake or get trapped in some other way,” Cook added. “According to the national statistics, you have less than a 1% chance of getting trapped in your vehicle from a safety belt malfunction.”

Of the 559 traffic deaths, 234 of them involved a fatality where the driver or passenger declined to wear their seat belt.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and other groups across the country want to stress the importance of vehicle safety — including the use of safety belts — and general driver safety and awareness.

“Education is a big key,” Cook said. “We would encourage parents to be more active in making sure their children are ready to drive.”