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With more than 40 years of practice with an outstanding record of success, Norris Injury Lawyers has valuable experience in maximizing compensation for accident victims. Call (800) 477-7510 for a free consultation if you were injured in a motor vehicle crash. 

Traffic accidents hurt and kill people every year. In Birmingham, Alabama, every accident is unique. Yet, some factors seem to contribute to more collisions than others.

This guide will help you identify the most common causes of car accidents and what to do when these affect you and your family.

How Traffic Law Violators Harm Others?

Traffic laws protect everyone on the road. However, some people disregard the rules, endangering others in the process. If your accident relates to an illegal action, you could qualify for personal injury damages.

Impaired driving

No one should be in physical control of a vehicle:

  • With 0.08 or higher blood alcohol content (BAC)
  • Under the influence of any substance that impairs physical or mental faculties to the extent that driving becomes unsafe
  • While the combined effect of alcohol and a controlled substance renders him or her incapable of safe driving

The law has stricter guidelines for some motorists. For instance, commercial drivers cannot work if they have a BAC of 0.04 or greater. The lowest legal BAC percentage is only 0.02, for:

  • Persons under the age of 21
  • Daycare drivers
  • School bus drivers

Impaired driving fatalities in Alabama have risen 3 percent since 2015. More than 10,000 people die yearly in alcohol-related crashes in the US. It is no wonder that driving under the influence (DUI) is punishable by license suspensions, fines, and jail time.

Any driver using public highways gives implied consent to chemical blood, breath, or urine. Contact emergency services immediately if you suspect that the motorist who hit you had been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The 300,000 alcohol-related incidents that occur every day are preventable. The experienced legal team of Norris Injury Lawyers is ready to help you seek justice.

Distracted driving

Alabama law prohibits motor vehicles from using handheld wireless communication devices, including the following, on any public street or highway:

  • Cellphones
  • Personal digital assistants
  • Laptop computers
  • Tablets
  • Any similar, removable device used to send or receive data via manual input

This prohibition includes GPS or navigation systems. A driver must either pre-program the coordinates before the trip or pull over to the shoulder to enter new coordinates. The programming of coordinates while operating a vehicle constitutes a violation.

Handheld devices are one of the most common activities that distract drivers behind the wheel. Yet, any secondary activity that takes the person’s attention away from the driving task can lead to a catastrophic accident.

For example, collisions have resulted from these distracting actions:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Making eye contact with backseat passengers using the rear-view mirror
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including looking at directions and maps
  • Watching videos or checking social media
  • Adjusting radios

A distracted driver is an unsafe driver. Alabama saw at least 47 distracted driving fatalities in 2019. A Birmingham car accident lawyer can examine the facts of your case to determine whether or not distracted driving was a factor.


Alabama speed limits depend on the type of road, varying up to:

  • 70 mph on interstates
  • 65 mph on roadways with 4 or more lanes
  • 55 mph on other roadways (or as marked)
  • 45 mph on county roads (or as marked)
  • 35 mph on all unpaved county roads
  • 25 mph in residential areas
  • 15 mph in school zones

Most people understand that traveling faster than the posted speed limits is illegal. But Alabama state law is even more specific. No one should drive at a greater speed than is reasonable and prudent for the conditions.

This rule means that motor vehicle operators must evaluate actual and potential hazards. Weather, road conditions, or other variables might necessitate reduced speed. Drivers are expected to slow down when:

  • Approaching or passing through intersections or railroad crossings
  • Approaching a hill
  • Going around a curve
  • Navigating a narrow or winding road
  • Experiencing special hazards

The Department of Transportation often reduces speed limits in urban and rural construction zones since drivers must stay particularly alert to tackle challenging traffic conditions. Rear-end collisions due to speeding or inattentive driving are the most common type of work zone crash. However, with workers present, pedestrian incidents are also a danger.

In 2019, speeding factored into 7,778 Alabama car crashes. Exceeding the speed limit is a serious offense that could end in disaster. If that were true in your case, our attorneys can take legal action to hold speeders responsible for their poor and reckless decisions.

Driver error

Some drivers do not know the rules of the road or make careless mistakes. Others ignore traffic laws on purpose.

The State of Alabama compiles statistics related to these “driver contributing circumstances” for all reported crashes:

  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Improper lane change
  • Improper lane use
  • Failure to heed signs and signals
  • Disregarding the instructions of an officer directing traffic
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Following too closely

Often, multiple circumstances contribute to a crash. For instance, speeding, driving under the influence, and falling asleep at the wheel could lead to the above dangerous behaviors. In total, there were 159,102 accidents in Alabama in 2019.

Finding out all the causes of a car accident is no easy feat. Nevertheless, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to investigate your case. Schedule your free case review with our legal team by clicking one of the live chat icons on your screen.

How Mechanical Issues Lead to Disaster?

In 2016, there were 2.28 million trucks, automobiles, motorcycles, and buses registered in Alabama. While many people maintain their vehicles well, it is not uncommon to see cars needing repair in Jefferson County. Of course, some issues are not visible to the naked eye and require diagnosis and service from a professional.

Did mechanical failure affect your car or the car that struck you? Our perceptive lawyers understand the importance of determining the pre-accident working condition of cars involved in an accident. Problems with the car components discussed below could result from driver negligence or product defects.


Car owners must inspect their wheels regularly. Tires should be repaired or replaced without delay if worn, damaged, or punctured. One 2012 study revealed that certain tire factors make vehicles more likely to crash, especially if the driver is unfamiliar with the car or lacks driving experience.

Common tire issues include:

  • Flats
  • Blowouts
  • Punctures
  • Underinflation
  • Overinflation
  • Worn or separated tread
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Mounting damage
  • Unsuitable size for the vehicle

Upon tire failure, a vehicle could spin out of control. As drivers swerve to regain control, the car could veer from its lane, hit an obstacle, and roll over or swerve into oncoming traffic.


Faulty brakes could prove deadly if drivers cannot reduce speed or stop. In a 2015 crash data report, the NHTSA identified brake-related problems as the critical reason behind 22 percent of traffic collisions.

Drivers should watch out for these brake problems:

  • Worn or leaking brake lines
  • Lack of brake fluid
  • Malfunctioning anti-lock brake systems
  • Inadequate brake pads and discs

Steering, suspension, transmission, and engine

According to the NHTSA, steering, suspension, transmission, and engine-related problems factored into about 3 percent of the crashes studied. Yet, this is no minor problem. These issues often result in serious accidents.

While we cannot describe all car accident causes here, statistics indicate that upwards of 90 percent of highway crashes result from preventable factors including:

  • Driver mistakes
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Inattention
  • Physical and mental conditions
  • Aggressive or reckless attitudes
  • Faulty judgment
  • Failure to properly inspect and maintain a vehicle

You have the right to pursue legal compensation if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence.

Your Ideal Next Step

A car accident can be devastating, scary, and discouraging. You might be out of a car, and your injuries could keep you from your job. In the worst cases, you might have to cope with losing a loved one.

In difficult times like these, Norris Injury Lawyers want to fight for your rights. We can help you get personal injury damages that cover your losses, such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

It can be challenging to determine the cause of a car accident, so you won’t regret seeking professional assistance. What’s more, working with a personal injury attorney saves you stress and time. We can take care of the paperwork for you, while you relax and focus on rebuilding your life. After all, if you make a mistake working on your own case, you could miss out on the compensation you deserve.

Some people take the risk because they cannot afford legal services. But our law firm does not want you to miss out on high-quality legal assistance for any reason, not even a humble financial status. Our No Fee Guarantee® means that we charge no fees unless we get you money.

Allow us to make your needs our priority. Contact Norris Injury Lawyers to find out how much your case is worth today.