Troopers hope to lower death toll

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Sixteen deaths on Alabama highways and interstates are predicted to occur during the New Years' holiday weekend, according to State Trooper spokesman Tommy Waters.

"Last year in a 30-hour period there were 10 deaths," Waters said.

To help prevent the large number of deaths predicted, Waters said there will be extra troopers on patrol.

"A federal grant will ensure a number of troopers will be on busy highways and interstates," he said.

Waters added the troopers will receive overtime pay for their services.

With the high number of deaths predicted, Waters said the department doesn't predict a set number of alcohol-related accidents, but he said he feels the number will be high.

"The department doesn't predict in that way," he said. "There will be a lot of DUIs, we predict, and of course we will be watching closely for that. There is simply a lot of people who are under the influence (of drugs and alcohol) during the holidays."

The Associated Press reported 18 people died as a result of accidents on Alabama highways during the long Christmas holiday travel period.

Based on past years' statistics, the state Department of Public Safety had estimated that 17 people would die during the 102-hour travel period.

That travel period lasted from 6 p.m. Wednesday to midnight Sunday. The same time frame will be set this week for New Years' holiday travel in the state.