Troopers out in force for holiday period

Published 10:56 pm Thursday, December 22, 2011

Alabama State Troopers are reminding motorists to use caution during the upcoming holiday weekends.

The 72-hour Christmas holiday weekend period that Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. and ends Dec. 26 at midnight. The 78-hour New Year’s travel period will be from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, through midnight Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. The holiday period will see increase trooper presence throughout the holiday weekends, officials said.

“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,” Col. Hugh B. McCall, director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety said.

Public Safety’s holiday safety initiative includes 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.

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.

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.