ALEA urges safe driving

Published 10:15 am Thursday, November 28, 2019

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Intoxication and driving under the influence are prevalent during Thanksgiving weekend, making the long holiday one of the deadliest on roadways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Secretary Hal Taylor said the agency’s mission is to reverse the trend.

Between 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, and midnight Sunday, Dec. 1, ALEA will boost its Trooper presence on roadways and work to prevent traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities with grant funding from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). During that time, ALEA and its law enforcement partners across the state will conduct DUI checkpoints and other enforcement activities designed to curb crashes involving alcohol.

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Alcohol was a contributing factor in an average of 9.9 percent of all Trooper-investigated traffic crashes from five-day Thanksgiving travel periods from 2014 to 2018. For those same periods, Troopers arrested an average of 38.6 individuals for DUI. During the 2018 Thanksgiving travel period, for example, Troopers investigated 482 traffic crashes, 36 of which involved alcohol; investigated seven traffic fatalities, two of which involved alcohol; and arrested 35 individuals for DUI.

In addition, ALEA also reminds the motoring public to: 

Obey the law: Do not speed, follow too closely or make illegal lane changes. These are among top deadly driving behaviors.

Buckle up: No matter how short the trip, make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained. (As of Sept. 1, 2019, state law requires occupants of all ages to use a seat belt or child-restraint system.)

Put away the phone and other distractions: Make safety a priority. When behind the wheel, do not text or do anything but focus on the task of driving. 

Prepare for congestion: It is not uncommon for traffic to be heavier than usual during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Allow additional time for congestion along your route to and from your holiday destination. 

Use caution in construction zones: ALDOT will have no temporary lane closures for road work on interstates from noon Wednesday, Nov. 27, to midnight Sunday, Dec. 1. Still, be extra cautious when traveling through these areas, and obey posted speed limits.