CULLMAN – According to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), fatalities on Alabama highways are up more than 25 percent this year over last year. In Cullman County, that number is closer to 50 percent.
“So far, there have been 23 traffic fatalities in Cullman County this year,” said Cullman County Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick. “I only had a dozen traffic fatalities last year.”
For the safety of all who are traveling this holiday season, ALDOT, and Kilpatrick, are asking that drivers and their passengers wear seat belts.
“Almost 60 percent of the 646 people who have died in vehicle crashes on Alabama roads so far this year were not wearing a seat belt,” said Allison Green, Drive Safe Alabama coordinator with ALDOT.
“State law is to buckle up,” agreed Kilpatrick. “Your chances of survival are greater if you are restrained.”
Here’s how Cullman County’s 2016 traffic fatalities break down:
- 10 died as a result of head-on collisions (both restrained and unrestrained)
- 5 died as a result of being unrestrained in a collision (22 percent)
- 2 died as a result of being struck while crossing roadways
- 2 died as a result of rear-end collisions
- 4 died as a result of motorcycle collisions
“All five of those who died as a result of being unrestrained in a collision I believe would still be here today if they had been wearing their seat belts,” said Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick also shared that drugs or alcohol played a part in six of Cullman County’s 2016 23 fatalities.
Of the few remaining days this year, when holiday travel will be at its peak, Kilpatrick is realistic when asked if he thinks Cullman County will have more than 23 traffic fatalities before 2017.
“Unfortunately, yes, I do.”
“One of the best gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones this year is to buckle up every time you get into a vehicle,” said Green. “Get started on your New Year’s resolutions early and make wearing a seat belt a daily habit before 2017 arrives.”
ALDOT road advisories
To better handle increased traffic and for the safety of travelers, construction industry workers and maintenance crews, ALDOT will have no temporary lane closures on Alabama interstates after noon, Friday, Dec. 23, through midnight, Monday, Dec. 26, and after noon, Friday, Dec. 30, through midnight, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.
For safe driving tips and an overview of Alabama motor vehicle laws, go to www.DriveSafeAlabama.org.
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