Troopers staying alert over holiday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 4, 2002

As with any holiday weekend, Alabama State Troopers are expecting to busy during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Troopers will be stepping up their presence on the state's highways in hopes of keeping the number of accidents, and possible fatalities, down.

As of Thursday morning, Sgt. Marty Griffin said he had not received any information about statewide fatalities as of yet,

but said there had not been any fatalities in an area which covers Covington, Crenshaw, Conecuh, Butler, Escambia and Monroe counties.

Griffin said it has been projected that 19 people will die on Alabama roadways during a period which covers from 6 a.m. on Wednesday to midnight on Sunday.

He said troopers are participating in an operation which promotes increase awareness and safety on Alabama's roads.

Griffin said various problems are usually encountered with Alabama drivers during holiday weekends such as the Fourth of July.

"We encounter a lot of problems with reckless drivers, and many other factors such as people driving under the influence and speeding.

According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 198 people nationwide died last year during the Independence Day holiday.

And while the council anticipates more deaths this Fourth of July holiday period, it also estimates that 487 people involved in serious motor vehicle crashes will survive this Independence Day because of seat belts.

The National Safety council recommends that motorists make sure that everyone is properly buckled for every single trip over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and the council also urges motorists to:

Make sure children are properly fastened

in belts or child safety seats in the backseat every time they ride in a car. Six out of ten children killed in crashes are not restrained. Children age 12 and under should always ride in the backseat, especially in vehicles with air bags.

Don't drink and drive. Nearly 40 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes involve alcohol. If you know you will be drinking alcohol, use a designated driver or public transportation.

Allow enough travel time for frequent breaks on longer trips. Drowsy drivers are an increasing problem in our fast-paced society. Remember drowsiness can reduce reaction time almost as much as drinking.

The Safe Party Guide urges hosts to be responsible by offering a variety of non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers, never serving alcohol to those under the legal drinking age of 21, asking guests to appoint a designated driver before the evening begins, not letting guests mix their own drinks and never allowing guests who have had too much to drink to drive home.