Troopers out in full force

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eight individuals died on Alabama’s roadways last Thanksgiving weekend, and Alabama state troopers estimate that alcohol was a factor in half of those fatalities.

Making every effort to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities on roadways, troopers will be out in full force through Sunday as part of the Department of Public Safety’s Take Back Our Highways campaign. During this 102-hour highway safety program, holiday travelers will see more state troopers on patrol and more citations being written.

“With heavier than usual traffic expected during the extended holiday period, we will aggressively enforce traffic laws. Troopers will target such dangerous behavior as speeding, DUI, distracted driving, and following too closely, all of which cause crashes and contribute to more severe crashes,” said Col. F.A. Bingham, the department’s acting director.

Email newsletter signup

Introduced in August 2007, Take Back Our Highways increase safety through aggressive enforcement and increased public awareness about safety. In 2006, the year before Take Back Our Highways began, 19 people died in crashes during the five-day holiday, and that is 19 too many. Of these 19 fatalities, almost half were not wearing seat belts, and alcohol was a factor in at least three of the crashes. During Thanksgiving weekend 2007, the number of fatalities dropped to 11, and that was followed by 10 fatalities during the same period in 2008.

DPS has seen a decrease in fatalities each year since launching Take Back Our Highways, and Bingham said Troopers are working to continue the safety trend. Motorists can help by obeying all traffic laws, observing speed limits, buckling up and avoiding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Bingham said.

Throughout this campaign, state troopers also will engage in routine patrols and be available to assist motorists. To help ensure safety, every available trooper, including those who typically are assigned to duties other than patrol, will be in uniform and on Alabama’s roadways during this program. “Take Back Our Highways is about making a positive difference on the highways,” Bingham said. “It’s about saving lives and preventing crashes.”