Jefferson County highway deaths

Joe Songer/Birmingham News

Accident data shows that speed and traffic volume raise the risk of fatal accidents, leading to identifiable pockets of higher crash rates when those elements combine. reports ( that 537 fatal crashes in Jefferson and Shelby counties killed 590 people between 2007 and 2011.

Statistics show the number of fatal crashes trending upward toward the end of that period, though stronger laws intended to improve driver behavior could reverse the trend, analysts say.