Alabama State Troopers have reported that seat belts were a contributing factor in more than 50% of the fatal car accidents in Alabama last year. State records show that troopers investigated 514 fatal accidents statewide in 2012. Sadly, only 59% of victims were restrained by a seat belt at the time of their crash.
Unfortunately, last year's statistics are not abnormally high. According to data from the Alabama Department of Transportation, Alabama's five-year average for victims not restrained by seat belts is 60%. Troopers recently released data relating to Alabama fatal auto accidents which have occurred this year. In January, motor vehicle accidents caused 36 deaths across the state. Unsurprisingly, nearly half of those victims were not wearing seat belts at the time of their respective auto accident.
The statistics from the ALDOT fail to disclose whether victims were in the front or back seat at the time of crash. Alabama's seat belt law only provides that motorists must wear seat belts while in the front seat of a vehicle; adults are not required to use restraints while in the back seat.
Only twenty-six jurisdictions across the nation currently have mandatory belt laws that apply to back-seat occupants. The state's mandatory seat belt law became effective in 1999. Since that time, seat belt usage among Alabama motorists has surpassed 90%.
If you lost a loved one due to a car wreck, speak with an auto accident lawyer in Birmingham. You may be entitled to serve as the administrator of the decedent's estate and pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. Be sure to act quickly to prevent the applicable statute of limitations from barring your action.