Troopers ready for weekend travelers

Published 11:24 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Alabama State Troopers will step up patrols along roadways in Chilton County and across the state this weekend in preparation for the Labor Day holiday.

The initiative is the culmination of the latest “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” anti-drunk driving campaign, which started Aug. 20 and runs through Monday.

Each trooper post will have a BAT Mobile — a specialized vehicle with breath alcohol testing equipment — to be deployed to several DUI “hot spots” throughout the state in an effort to curb drunk driving.

Troopers will be out in full force between 6 p.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Monday, trooper spokeswoman Robyn Litchfield said.

“Impaired drivers are the most dangerous drivers on the road,” Gov. Bob Riley said in a press release. “With BAT Mobiles, we can literally place the labs in the field, apprehend impaired drivers and get them off our highways more quickly.”

The initiative is made possible through a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

ALDOT has played other roles in improving highway safety. The department has spent more than $15 million since 2003 adding guardrails along Interstates, and has spent in excess of $50 million adding 2 additional feet per lane to rural two-lane roads as they are resurfaced.

Riley says both law enforcement and engineering efforts are helping to reduce the number of highway deaths along Alabama’s roads.

During Labor Day weekend 2009, there were eight fatal crashes on Alabama highways. That year there were 541 total fatalities worked by troopers — down significantly from 828 deaths recorded in 2006.

As of Aug. 31 of this year, 349 fatalities have been recorded statewide.

“We analyze where, when, how and why crashes occur,” Riley said. “We take that information and design effective countermeasures in every area of the state. Our state troopers target the dangerous behaviors that most frequently contribute to fatal crashes.”