Troopers expect 19 fatalities over holidays

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2006

Alabama state troopers are estimating that at least 19 people could be killed in traffic accidents during the five-day Thanksgiving period that starts today at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight on Sunday.

In a released statement, AAA said higher prices for hotel rooms, rental cars and airfares will not keep families from traveling this holiday season with an estimated 38.3 million Americans hitting the roads.

That number represents a 2.7 increase over last year, according to AAA.

19 people died in automobile crashes throughout Alabama last year during the same holiday period, according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety. 10 occupants of those vehicles were not wearing seat belts and alcohol did factor in at least three fatalities.

&#8220Use of safety restraints - seatbelts and child restraints - is one of the simplest and most important actions drivers and passengers can take,” said Public Safety Director Col. W.M. Coppage.

&#8220Traffic crashes kill more than a thousand people in Alabama each year, with more than half not using restraints. Obey the law, avoid a ticket, and give yourself every chance of survival by buckling up,” he added.

Coppage said travelers could expect increased patrols of Alabama's rural roads during the holiday period as a visible deterrent and to ensure compliance with regulations.

According to Clay Ingram, AAA-Alabama spokesperson, expect busy highways and packed airports this Thanksgiving.

&#8220Higher prices for hotel rooms, rental cars and airfare have increased, but that will not keep people from traveling,” said Ingram.

82 percent of holiday travelers will go by automobile, according to AAA.

&#8220Americans will take advantage of the fact that gas prices have fallen for the past several months,” said Ingram. Gas prices nationwide average $2.23 currently for self-serve regular.

In Greenville, gas prices averaged $2.12 on Tuesday afternoon.