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Travelers spending time off the road

AAA estimates in a recent press release that some travelers will be spending Independence Day weekend at home with their families instead of wasting gas on the road. The gas price push has forced people to rethink long weekends with extended family or quickie beach trips.

However, the Southeast is ranked to have the most travelers during the holiday weekend with an estimated 8.7 million people out and about.

Clay Ingram, Alabama AAA spokesman, said that it is just a small increase from the norm though.

“It is important to note that there are still millions of Americans who plan to travel,” Ingram said in the release.

Almost 85 percent of people who are going on short trips plan to travel by automobile said AAA.

Expect a flurry of police patrol stops along small towns checking for licenses, and state troopers catching speeding cars on the highways.

Alabama state troopers are planning to be out in full force setting up license and sobriety check points throughout the state and using laser speed detection devices throughout roadways and highways.

Alabama Public Safety director Col. J. Christopher Murphy said in a press release that state troopers will target aggressive drivers, and reminds drivers of Alabama’s “move-over” law, a law that requires drivers to move to the opposite lane from an officer currently engaged in a traffic stop.

Last year during a mere 30-hour period of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Alabama reported nine traffic fatalities, and five of the deaths involved alcohol according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Six of eight people who died in the accidents were also not wearing safety belts.

Buckling up is a state law, so avoid that costly ticket and wear the seat belt.

Clanton and Thorsby do not plan to have any check points set up through town, but it is better to be safe than sorry and be caught drinking and driving over the weekend.

Residents of Maplesville and Jemison may be in for a roadside surprise though because local police may construct roadblocks, and will definitely have extra manpower on duty for the Fourth of July.