Traffic death totals increase

Published 12:05 am Thursday, April 7, 2011

The death of a Birmingham preacher following a traffic accident on Ala. Hwy. 55 earlier this month is one of 137 traffic fatalities in the state since January – a total that is up by more than 10 from the same period last year.

Trooper Kevin Cook, spokesman with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday that more people have died on Alabama’s roadways this year than in the same period last year, despite statewide and national declines in traffic fatalities over the last several years.

The department reported the total is up from 129 at this time last year.

There were 528 traffic fatalities investigated by state troopers in 2010, a decline from 541 in 2009. Of those 528, six occurred in Covington County. In 2009, four deaths occurred locally.

Cook said factors in the increase include distracted driving, speeding and following too close.

Cook said troopers are implementing data-driven enforcement, which includes trooper commanders incorporating more driver license checkpoints and patrols in areas more prone to crashes.

To help reduce the number of traffic accidents as a result of impaired drivers, local law enforcement agencies are currently participating in a “Click It or Ticket” grant, which allows officers to run additional traffic blitzes throughout the county.