Caution urged during Fourth of July festivities

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2013

By all means, have a blast this Fourth of July—just do it safely, say member agencies of Alabama’s Integrated State Law Enforcement Task Force.

SLE Task Force officers urge residents to keep in mind these tips for a fun—and safe—Fourth:

•Restrict access and closely monitor teens to prevent underage use of alcoholic beverages.

•Avoid driving or boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

•Buckle up on the road or on the water–no matter how short your trip. Occupants of all ages should use seat belts or child restraints when traveling by motor vehicles. On waterways, all occupants of water vessels should use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

•Focus on driving or boating, and avoid such distractions as texting and using cell phones.

•Slow down in construction zones. Drivers pose the greatest danger in work zone crashes by speeding, not paying attention and driving while impaired or distracted.

•Cross highway-railway crossings with care. Motorists should never drive around lowered crossing gates, and pedestrians and cyclists should never trespass or play around railroad tracks.

•Report anything suspicious (at school, public venues, etc.) to the Alabama Fusion Center’s tip line: 866-229-6220.

•Pay attention to weather conditions, particularly when there is thunder and lightning. Storms can come up quickly, especially in warm weather, so keep an eye on the sky. Watch for temperature changes, shifts in wind patterns and changes in cloud formations.

•Make hotel/motel stay safe. Choose establishments that are protected by both smoke alarms and fire sprinkler systems. Once in rooms, guests should review escape plans with the entire party. If alarms sound, leave rooms right away, and avoid elevators by using stairs.

Exercise caution on roadways

Travel on Alabama highways during the Independence Day holiday is expected to be higher than normal as the summer travel season continues. The Alabama Department of Transportation urges motorists to drive safely during the busy holiday period.

As an added precaution during the heavily traveled holiday, ALDOT announced there would be no temporary lane closures on Alabama interstates after 1 p.m., Wednesday, July 3, through midnight, Sunday, July 7.

For the safety of the traveling public, construction industry workers and maintenance crews, roadwork will be limited during this busy holiday period. Throughout the year, ALDOT limits road construction during major holiday weekends. Emergency lane closures may be possible dependant on specific circumstances on interstates and other state roadways. Motorists are urged to always obey posted work zone speed limits.

On July 3, each of the state’s Highway Patrol posts will step up enforcement in “hot spots,” areas that have been identified through crash/activity data. During the official holiday travel period from 12:01 a.m. July 4 to midnight July 7, all available state troopers (and officers from other law enforcement agencies across the state) will enforce traffic laws and be available to assist motorists along Alabama roadways. All available state troopers will work additional shifts in an effort to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities on Alabama roadways.

There will be LIDAR details, driver license checkpoints and roving patrols concentrating on enforcing seat belt/child restraint laws and motorists who are impaired, following too closely and speeding.

ADECA and ALDOT provide grant funding to cover these additional shifts.

ALDOT’s mission is to provide a safe, efficient, environmentally and economically sound transportation network across Alabama. For further information, visit