November 20, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Public Safety

State Troopers Prepare for Thanksgiving Holiday Traffic


MONTGOMERYAlabama state troopers will be working extra-duty patrols throughout the week of Thanksgiving to ensure the safety of holiday travelers. The Department of Public Safety anticipates that traffic will be especially heavy during the 102-hour travel period beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, and ending at midnight Sunday, Nov. 29.


Last year 10 people died in vehicle crashes in Alabama during the holiday travel period. Troopers said six of the vehicle occupants killed were not wearing safety belts, and alcohol was a factor in at least three of the fatal crashes.


Public Safety Director Col. J. Christopher Murphy said that troopers will be out in force conducting patrols and checkpoints during the holiday travel period. “Highly visible patrols promote compliance with traffic laws and support troopers’ efforts to prevent crashes, deaths and injuries,” said Murphy. To date trooper-reported traffic deaths in Alabama are down by 90 – from 575 in 2008 to 485 this year.


Murphy said all available troopers will be on duty patrolling Alabama’s rural roads to ensure compliance with traffic laws and to serve as visible reminders to motorists to drive safely. Troopers urge holiday travelers to buckle up on every trip, obey speed limits, drive defensively and courteously, and never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs.


“Troopers will be especially vigilant for DUI offenders during the Thanksgiving holiday period,” said Murphy. He cited the involvement of impaired driving in approximately 40 percent of Alabama traffic deaths and praised troopers’ efforts to save lives through intensive DUI enforcement. From January through October, trooper arrests of impaired drivers increased by more than 700 to 5,897, compared with 5,155 DUI arrests during the same period in 2008.


 “Use of safety restraints – seat belts and child restraints – is one of the simplest and most important actions drivers and passengers can take,” added Murphy. He said seat belt use increases one’s chances of surviving an injury-type crash by about eight-fold. “The life-saving benefits of safety restraint use are indisputable; there’s no good excuse not to buckle up.”


Murphy also reminded motorists to be vigilant for troopers, wreckers and other emergency responders working roadside during the holiday period. He cited Alabama’s “move-over” law and its requirement to move over one lane, or to slow down when moving over isn’t possible or safe, when passing law enforcement vehicles or wreckers stopped roadside with emergency lights activated.


Department of Public Safety, Public Information/Education Unit, (334) 242-4445


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