Police to begin beefing up patrol today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

Beginning today, law enforcement will begin its annual “Take Back Our Highways” traffic initiative.

The 10-day traffic safety blitz will continue through Memorial Day, May 31, and coincide with the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which begins May 24 and will run through the July 4 holiday.

“So what this means to local motorists is that they need to be safe, be cautious and be compliant when it comes to obeying traffic laws,” said David Anderson, chief deputy with the Covington County Sheriff’s Office.

“We will have extra patrols out on all the major thoroughfares and probably a few small road blocks here and there,” he said. “We don’t have anything set in stone yet, but deputies will be out focusing on impaired drivers, seat belt violations and child restraint violations.”

Anderson said deputies will also be patrolling on some county roads.

“This is the beginning of summer vacation time,” he said.

“We definitely need to buckle up and drive carefully to make sure we all have a safe and pleasant summer.”

Alabama State Troopers will also “blanket the state in an intensive patrol effort aimed at saving lives, improving driving behavior and increasing awareness of safety,” said Department of Public Safety Director Col. J. Christopher Murphy.

Troopers will especially target those driving under the influence and seat belt violations, as well as on speeding, following too closely and improper lane change – all violations that contribute to traffic crashes and fatalities.

Enforcement operations will include saturation patrols, line patrols, motorcycle details, LIDAR speed details, and license and equipment checkpoints.

Based on detailed statistical analysis of where, when and how frequently crashes occur, Public Safety’s eight Highway Patrol troop commanders have tailored enforcement plans to concentrate troopers in high-crash locations for each area of the state.

Both traffic initiatives are being funded by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

The official Memorial Day holiday travel period begins at 6 p.m. Fri., May 28, and ends at midnight Mon., May 31.

Last year during the 78-hour Memorial Day weekend 15 people, including 12 vehicle occupants, two pedestrians and one ATV operator, were killed in traffic crashes in the state.

At least five of the deaths were alcohol related, and six of the 12 crash victims who were vehicle occupants were not using safety restraints.