Spring break

Alabama State Trooper Shane Rogers monitors traffic on U.S. 231 South.

Alabama State Troopers are already seeing an increase in traffic due to Spring Break. As the number of vehicles on Alabama roadways continue to increase, the likelihood of serious accidents rises as well.

“Here is the perfect example of how Spring Break traffic affects the roadways,” Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) Capt. Tracy Nelson said. “For the past two years, during the three weeks before Spring Break, troopers respond to roughly 13 to 14 fatal accidents. But, during the weeks of Spring Break, that number jumped to 30 to 36 fatal accidents. Just the number of wrecks responded to by troopers statewide during Spring Break increases roughly by 250. The top four reasons we are seeing an increase in the number of wrecks are, driving too fast for the conditions, following too closely, driving under the influence, and improper lane changes and usage."

The annual college break has officially kicked off for schools to the north, and soon local high schools will start observing their annual Spring Break.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has issued an overtime grant to assist ALEA during Spring Break, allowing troopers to increase their visibility on the roadways. Nelson believes having additional troopers on the roadways will deter motorists from breaking the law.

“In our area of the state, I believe the highest speed reported is 100 mph,” Nelson said. “However, higher speeds throughout the state have been reported, and this is extremely dangerous. Not only is it dangerous to that motorist, but it is also dangerous to any motorist sharing the roadway.”

Students planning to enjoy Spring Break should consider making a choice that could affect them for the rest of their life — drinking and driving.

“We have zero tolerance for drinking and driving,” Nelson said. “This is something every driver should stop and think about before doing. One bad choice and everything changes. If you are traveling through Alabama driving under the influence and a trooper stops you, without a doubt you are going to jail,” Nelson said.

Nelson also addresses concerns involving teenage drivers.

“Unfortunately, one of the main problems we are seeing involving teenage driving is distraction and speeding,” Nelson said. “Unfortunately, these are two of the leading factors in motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers. Remember, texting and driving is against the law, and during Spring Break troopers will be watching for motorists who are texting and driving. ”

Motorists planning to hit the roadways headed to the beach during spring break should obey all traffic laws.

ALEA has provided the following tips to promote safety while enjoying Spring Break.

» Use seat belts on every trip

» Obey speed limits and all traffic laws

» Avoid drinking and driving

» Stay a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you

» Don’t text and drive

Nelson reminds all motorists traveling through Alabama during Spring Break that checkpoints will be stationed throughout the state.

“Our checkpoints are setup as a way to remind motorists we are doing our job,” Nelson said. “It is not a way to harass drivers. They are a way to make sure everyone is obeying all traffic laws as they travel through our state.”

To report suspected driving under the influence cases or other emergency hazards on the road, call *HP or *47.

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