Troopers to be out in force

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

Naughty motorists will not inhabit the roadways this holiday season if Alabama State Troopers have anything to do with it.

Public Information Officer John Reese said motorists should expect to see an increased trooper presence in Selma and surrounding areas between Christmas and New Year’s.

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The Alabama Department of Public Safety estimates that 14 people may die in traffic crashes during the 78-hour Christmas travel period, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, and ends at midnight Monday, Dec. 25.

The traffic fatality prediction for New Year’s estimates 14 people may die in crashes during the 78-hour travel period from 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29 through midnight Monday, Jan. 1.

“We’ll have a lot of troopers out there working overtime,” Reese said. “We’ll be doing driver’s license checks, making sure the drivers are obeying the speed limit and we’re going to be targeting people that are driving under the influence of alcohol.”

Reese added troopers will strictly enforce Alabama’s safety belt and child safety seat laws.

In a press-released statement Public Safety Director Col. J. Christopher Murphy urged motorists to practice courtesy and patience and most of all, common sense.

“There is no more imminent threat to traffic safety than the drunken driver,” he said. “Alabama troopers will be watchful for all traffic violations, but will be especially vigilant for drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.”

Trooper-monitored areas will include U.S. Highway 80, Alabama Highway 22 and county roads “because most of the major crashes and fatalities occur on the county roads,” Reese said.

Last year, 13 people died in traffic crashes on Alabama roadways during the Christmas travel period – 10 on rural roadways and three in metropolitan areas.

Alcohol was a factor in at least three of the deaths and eight of the crash victims were not wearing seat belts.

Ten people lost their lives during the New Year’s travel period – six on rural roadways and four in metropolitan areas.

At least six of the deaths involved alcohol. Three of the crash victims were not wearing seat belts.

Reese suggests pre-planning road trips and having a first aid kit and cell phone handy before heading out on the open road.

Motorists can report dangerous drivers or accidents by dialing “star HP (*HP)” on their cell phones.

“If (motorists) see any erratic driving, they can hit that *HP and kind of help us out to report reckless driving and things of that nature,” Reese said. “Report anything out of the ordinary – drivers under the influence of alcohol or drivers that may be speeding or running other motorists off the road.”

“We want motorists to be careful especially during this holiday season.”