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Holiday travel safety tips

With the seasonal hustle and bustle between now and New Year’s, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency expects the state’s roadways to be much busier than usual.

As a result, ALEA is increasing its patrols to help protect lives and promote highway safety, according to a release.

“Highway safety is key to ensuring motorists safely arrive at their destinations and enjoy this special time of year,” Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier said in a release.

Col. John E. Richardson, director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety, added that the 2015 Christmas-New Year’s holiday travel period began at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 18, and ends at midnight Jan. 1, 2016, during which Alabama State Troopers will work with their law enforcement partners across the state to promote safety.

“Creating a highly visibly enforcement presence, Troopers and their county and municipal counterparts will work to prevent crimes and violations on Alabama roadways and waterways that lead to deaths and injuries,” Richardson said in a release.

One of the easiest ways to ensure roadways and waterways are safe is to avoid driving while under the influence.

In fact, alcohol was a factor in at least three of the 19 Trooper investigated fatalities during the 2014 holiday season travel period, which ran from 12:01 a.m. Dec. 19 to midnight Jan. 2, 2015.

It is also important to buckle up every time—no matter how short the trip, according to the release.

Of the individuals killed in traffic crashes during the 2014 holiday travel period, there were two pedestrians.

Sixteen of those killed were traveling in vehicles equipped with seat belts, but nine of them were not using them.

In addition, an infant who died was unrestrained, according to the release.

“Using these two driving tips, avoiding alcohol or drugs and buckling up, could save a life—your life,” Collier said in a release.

Troopers will work additional shifts during the heavily traveled period thanks to funding provided by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

During these shifts, Troopers will be looking for drunk drivers, enforcing speed limits and ensuring everyone is using seat belts or child restraints.

They also will be available to assist motorists and can be reached by dialing *HP

(*47) on cell phones.