Drive safe over holiday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Last year, 16 people died on Alabama roadways during the Independence Day weekend.

This year, the Department of Public Safety estimates that 20 people will die.

That doesn’t have to happen.

The holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at midnight on Tuesday, July 4.

You can ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your passengers, by following the rules of the road.

Ten of the crash victims from last year’s Fourth of July weekend were not wearing seat belts.

That’s a given – wear a seat belt, and make sure children are properly buckled in.

Six of last year’s fatalities were alcohol-related.

That’s another given – don’t drink and drive. Statistics show even a small amount of alcohol can impair drivers. Don’t take any chances with your life or the lives of others.

Have a designated driver at your holiday party.

There will be extra troops on duty during the weekend, according to the Department of Public Safety.

That’s not meant to make your trip a hassle – it’s meant to make it safer.

Troopers throughout Alabama will be watchful for all violations of traffic law, including impaired driving, speeding, following too closely and failure to use safety belts and child restraints.

Enforcement plans for the holiday period also include driver license and equipment checkpoints, saturation and line patrols.

Motorists are urged to “slow down, never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and buckle up on every trip.

Because of the amount of traffic expected this weekend on the highway, it’s always a good idea to practice patience and courtesy toward other drivers.

Let’s be safe, and make sure you take your time and arrive safely. You don’t want to be a statistic from this year’s holiday weekend.