Troopers to step up patrols around holidays

Published 6:52 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Alabama State Troopers plan to step up their patrols during the holidays in an effort to save lives.

“This is an exciting time of year, and we want you to really enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, but please make highway safety a priority,” said Col. Hugh B. McCall, director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

The department’s holiday safety initiative will include extra patrols, sobriety checkpoints, line patrols and LIDAR speed detection. Troopers also will target other violations that often contribute to crashes, including speeding, following too closely, driver distraction and improper passing.

In addition, troopers will partner with law enforcement and traffic safety agencies throughout the state and nation to aggressively work to curtail impaired driving.

“If your holiday celebrations include alcohol, designate a nondrinking driver or make other arrangements to be sure you – and others on the road – get home safely,” McCall said.

This extra enforcement effort is made possible through grant funding provided by the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ Law Enforcement/Traffic Safety Section.

The 78-hour Christmas travel period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, and ends at midnight Monday, Dec. 26. In 2010, five people, including two pedestrians, died in traffic crashes on Alabama roadways during the 78-hour Christmas travel period. Alcohol was a factor in at least one of these deaths, and two of the three vehicle occupants killed were not using seat belts.

The 78-hour New Year’s travel period extends from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, through midnight Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. Last year, 14 people, including five pedestrians, died in traffic crashes in the state during the 78-hour New Year’s travel period. At least four of the deaths involved alcohol, and at least five vehicle occupants were not using seat belts.