Holiday prompts more patrols

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Memorial Day weekend has arrived, and with it local authorities expect thousands of motorists bound for Florida panhandle beaches to come through the county . In several towns in Covington County, those authorities are urging motorists to observe the rules of the road or face the consequences.

In Florala, Chief of Police Sonny Bedsole said the influx of traffic is an annual hassle that can be a burden to locals, but a boon to the local economy. It can also be dangerous, he said.

“Traffic gets congested here because of these four red lights. A lot of the problems come from impaired drivers. Some consume alcohol; some controlled substances. But, reckless drivers and people excessively speeding and tailgaiting other cars cause problems.”

Bedsole said Florala Police Department will be implementing their annual Click-It-Or-Ticket campaign to help curb any problems.

“Florala is a hot spot,” he said. “Our grant is for May 19 through June 1. Those are the times when we think traffic’s going to be heavy.”

In Opp, the situation is similar. Chief of Police Mike McDonald said motorists traveling down U.S. Hwy. 331 and Alabama Hwy. 52 cause problems similar to the ones residents face in Florala.

“We get a lot of traffic from tourists going down to the beach too,” McDonald said. “They speed. Sometimes it comes in lines and sometimes there’s some separation.”

McDonald said the Opp Police Department began their Click-It-Or-Ticket campaign on Thursday, and will also have extra units on the roads through Monday.

“We’ll be looking for speeders, any kinds of hazardous acts and violations of the seatbelt law,” he said.