State Troopers: Traffic fatalities decrease in 2017

Published 8:24 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

Alabama State Troopers released their statistics for 2017, with numbers showing a decline in traffic fatalities.

In 2017, there were a total of 598 traffic deaths investigated by Alabama State Troopers, which is 73 fewer fatalities than in 2016.

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The numbers for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve travel days, which runs from Dec. 16 to Jan. 1, were down from the previous year as well.

In 2017, there were 23 road fatalities investigated by state troopers over the holidays, a decrease by 8 deaths from 2016’s total of 31. There were also five days during the period that featured no fatalities, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

As to why the number of fatalities are lower than in 2016, State Trooper Reginal King attributes it to the public heeding law enforcement’s advice.

“The motor public really took the initiative to listen to what we had to say,” King said. “We try to keep people safe on the roads, but at the end of the day if they are not listening to us and staying safe there is very little we can do.”

Of the 23 deaths, 16 were driving the car, four were passengers, two were pedestrians and one was a bicyclist. Eleven of the crashes featured people not wearing seatbelts.

The fatalities over the holiday travel season occurred in the counties of Autauga, Baldwin, Calhoun, Choctaw, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dallas, DeKalb, Escambia, Geneva, Limestone, Mobile, Russell, St. Clair, Shelby and Washington.

While the numbers may be down, King still believes the results can progress tremendously.

“I am pleased with the fewer numbers of fatalities, but 57 percent of the deaths in 2017 had drivers that were not wearing seatbelts,” King said. “This means we still have room for improvement.”

State Troopers heavily encourage all Alabama drivers to use seatbelts, obey speed limits, refrain from driving under the influence and to pay attention while driving.