ALEA asks drivers to ‘Stay Alive, Think Before You Drive’ this weekend
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kelby Hutchison
As fireworks fill the night sky with wondrous color and Yeti coolers filled with ice-cold beer litter the sand and grass of lakes, rivers and beaches, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is encouraging you to stay safe this July 4 weekend.
The ALEA Highway Patrol Division is implementing multiple initiatives throughout the Fourth of July weekend to help improve safety on Alabama’s roadways.
Some of those include driver license checkpoints, light detection and ranging details and DUI checkpoints. This is a continuation of the Department’s “101 Days of Summer Safety” initiative that started on Memorial Day weekend.
Despite soaring gas prices, ALEA expects to see heavy road traffic over the holiday weekend.
“Our troopers in the Highway Patrol Division have worked diligently to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities across the state through a number of high visibility enforcement details,” said ALEA’s Director of Department Public Safety Col. Jimmy Helms.
Helms said there are multiple factors that can lead to wrecks outside drinking and driving.
“A main area of focus this year is educating the public on the dangers of impaired driving,” Helms said. “Gone are the days of motorists who are only impaired through the consumption of alcohol which can affect your driving and response time on the roadways.”
Drugs — including opioids, marijuana and some over-the-counter medicines can impair driving by causing drowsiness, alter visual function and affect mental judgment while simultaneously reducing motor skills. Other factors like fatigue and stress can impair drivers.
Data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that from 2016-2020 there were 1,390 drivers that were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the Fourth of July holiday period.
Of these fatalities, 41% of those drivers were drunk. The NHTSA also reported 30% of all traffic fatalities in the United States involved drunk drivers.
Drivers who plan on traveling this weekend should be aware that fines are doubled in construction zones for citiations including distracted driving, tailgating, aggressive driving and speeding. The Alabama Legislature’s amendment to the construction zone law went into effect July 1, 2021, after an increase in the number of injuries and fatal crashes in work zones in 2020.
“Through the implementation of this safety initiative as well as the utilization of catchphrases such as ‘Stay Alive, Think Before You Drive,’ it is our hope to capture the attention of citizens to reiterate the importance of safe and responsible driving behaviors. No parent or loved one should ever have to experience one of our troopers knocking on their front door to inform them that their loved one is not returning home,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor.
Some tips the ALEA suggests to motorists are:
- Always buckle up, no matter how short the trip
- Follow the speed limit
- Avoid any distractions, such as texting
- Expect heavier-than-usual traffic
Additional safety tips from both ALEA’s Highway Patrol and Marine Patrol for the Fourth of July can be found at: www.alea.gov
If you would like the PDF file you can check here.
If you are unable to drive on July 4 because of inebriation here are two ride services you can use to get you safely to your destination.