States join for holiday safety push

Published 4:34 pm Monday, November 12, 2007

By Staff
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley joined the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Mississippi Highway Patrol, Tennessee Highway Patrol and sheriff and police departments throughout Alabama in announcing Thursday an intensive joint initiative to reduce traffic fatalities and increase safety during the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays.
The program, “Take Back Our Highways,” will place all available law enforcement officers from participating agencies on patrol duty Nov. 19-25 in an intensive highway safety effort throughout the tri-state area, said Col. J. Christopher Murphy, director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
Joining Riley and Murphy to announce the initiative were Col. Michael Berthay, director of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Col. Mike Walker, director of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Murphy, Berthay and Walker also scheduled news conferences in Nashville and Jackson, Miss., to announce the safety program.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety first introduced “Take Back Our Highways” in August to save lives and increase public awareness about safety, said Murphy.
The program placed every available state trooper in uniform and on patrol Aug. 13-17, including the addition of approximately 200 troopers normally assigned to duties other than patrol. During that week, rural traffic deaths in Alabama were cut 69 percent compared with the same period in 2006.
Rural traffic deaths in Alabama have continued to decline, with 73 fewer fatalities recorded as of Nov. 6, compared with 2006.
Murphy said the results of “Take Back Our Highways” prompted plans to schedule a second interval during the peak Thanksgiving travel period involving fellow officers in Alabama and in Mississippi and Tennessee.
Throughout the Thanksgiving week, officers in all three states will target primary driving behaviors that cause crashes and contribute to more severe crashes, Murphy said.

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