Traffic Fatalities Up in 2016 in Alabama, a 22% increase from 2015

In 2016, Alabama State Troopers worked crashes where 671 people were killed.

“That’s 144 more than what we investigated in 2015. That’s a drastic increase in those traffic fatalities,” said Corporal Jess Thornton, Public Information for Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

But, in the whole state of Alabama, 1,100 people lost their lives in car wrecks.

“2016, we were starlted by the number of traffic fatalities we worked,” said Corporal Thornton.

Corporal Thornton said the top three causes: speeding, driving under the influence and distracted driving.

He said this wasn’t different in the past and it won’t be any different in the future.

“These are things that go into play when it comes to working these traffic accidents where people get killed and it all goes back to driver error,” said Corporal Thornton.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and the National Safety Council saw this spike.

“You could improve the GDL Law, the Graduated Drivers License Law, for teenagers. The fatality number for teens went up at a higher rate than the general population. They are our most vulnerable drivers on the road, they are inexperienced and they need to limit the number of passengers they have in the car and when they can drive, it’s really dangerous to be out at night,” said CEO for the National Safety Council Deborah Hersman.

Students at Auburn High School felt that crushing number. At the beginning of 2017, Auburn High School Senior Craig Hensarling died when he ran his car off the highway.

“It’s scary cause you really don’t think it will happen to anyone you know but then it ends up happening,” said Auburn High School Sophomore Dallas Watkins.

Mahogany Smith also lost her friend, who was 15-years-old, in a car crash.

He had started his mother’s car and he wasn’t supposed to be driving or drinking and then I guess he ran off the road,” said Smith.

A crushing tragedy that Smith said will always stick with her before she gets behind the wheel of a car.

“I think it was stupid that he made that decision to drink and drive,” said Smith.

Corporal Thornton said it’s a senseless loss of life and can be prevented, so they hope drivers will make good decisions before getting behind the wheel.

He also tells us the number of traffic fatalities they’ve worked in 2017 is already up. There’s been 67 deaths in 2017, up from 62 in the beginning of 2016.

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