Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

    UA researchers say holiday travel dangerous

    The study, conducted by UA researchers at the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety, looks at traffic statistics during the week of Thanksgiving and the impact they have on the state of Alabama.

    According to a release from UA, “The study employed the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment, or CARE, a software analysis system developed by CAPS research and development personnel to automatically mine information from existing databases. The Alabama Department of Public Safety provided crash records for the study.”

    David Brown, a research associate for the UA Center for Advanced Public Safety, directed the study.

    According to a release from UA that looked at the study’s data, “Crashes involving deer are 77 percent more likely during Thanksgiving week than the rest of the year, and crashes where drivers swerved to avoid deer are about 40 percent more likely.”

    Given that deer season begins in November, there is a correlation between crashes and deer.

    The release goes on to report, “Crashes caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs are also more prevalent during Thanksgiving week. During the past five years, these crashes were 27 percent more likely, with the crashes concentrated between 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, according to CAPS.”

    Brown stressed the influx of drivers and travelers during the Thanksgiving holiday, and the impact they have on the roads.

    “The problem is that certain days (as given in the report) have dramatically higher traffic counts. This is made up for by very few crashes on Thanksgiving Day itself. So, this is what we were trying to emphasize,” Brown said. “When everyone is out there at once things get more hazardous for any given driver. There are more encounters, more conflicts, and more people distracted by the phones and texting. Put a little rain in the mix and you really have a problem.”

    The issue of weather impacting automobile accidents is prevalent too.

    The University’s release that looks at the statistics from the study reveals, “Another more prevalent cause for collisions is weather. Rain was considered a major factor in about 16 percent more crashes observed than during the rest of the year. Also, the cause listed as “too fast for conditions” was reported about 12 percent more than at other times, according to CAPS.”

    Some students had positive reactions toward driving and the statistics.

    “I am driving home to Houston, Texas for Thanksgiving Break. I feel very safe on the roads because I always drive with two or more people since it’s an 11-hour drive,” said Casey Carpenter, a freshman majoring in psychology.

    Emma Pimental, a freshman majoring in elementary education, said she feels safe as well, even though she won’t be going home for the break.

    “I am not driving home since I live in Massachusetts, but if I were to drive home, I would feel safe on he road because I am used to driving,” Pimental said.

    Brown said drivers don’t need to worry, they just need to be safe.

    “There is no reason to fear if a driver will stay away from drugs, alcohol, and cell phones, go the speed limit and be sure to buckle up,” he said. “And be particularly watchful in the rural areas for deer. Simple precautions can save your life.”

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