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Keep your holiday a time of joy – not tragedy

State troopers estimate that 14 people will die during the 78-hour period beginning 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22 and ending midnight Monday, Dec. 25, and that nine people will die during the 78-hour period beginning Friday, Dec. 29 and ending midnight Monday, Jan. 1.

That does not mean it has to happen.

We urge you to exercise caution as you travel for Christmas and New Year's.

"As governor we passed legislation imposing new penalties against people who drive drunk with children in the car.

Alabama does not tolerate people who drink and drive.

I urge motorists to drive responsibly during this holiday season, and caution those who are tempted to break Alabama's DUI laws that the consequences are not worth it," said Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

The Christmas death estimate is twice the number that died in 1999, and five of those deaths were alcohol related.

All available troopers will be on patrol during peak travel times, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Most of last year's Christmas and New Year traffic deaths – 11 of 15 – occurred on rural roadways.

Please be careful, and have a good holiday.