"Take Back Our Highways" returns

Written by: Mark Bullock - bio | email
Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Don't be surprised if you see more flashing blue lights this week as another statewide campaign is underway designed to keep drivers safe.

The "Take Back Our Highways" campaign is now underway and this year, it's growing, but in spite of the increased patrols Alabama State Troopers found themselves working yet another serious accident Monday.

The crash involved a car and a mini-van on U.S. Highway 231 in South Montgomery County. Ambulances lined up as troopers, in the middle of their latest safety campaign, found themselves working an accident that injured seven people. Hurt in the wreck were four children.

Troopers are stepping up their patrols this week in hopes of preventing accidents before they even happen. "Sixty percent of the trooper-worked fatalities, they're not wearing their seat belt" says Col. Christopher Murphy of the Alabama Department of Public Safety. "That's a preventable accident."

Murphy says the other forty percent are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, more preventable accidents.

Tennessee and Mississippi are participating in the campaign again this year, and for the first time, so are Georgia and Florida.

Murphy says he got a call from the new head of the Florida Highway Patrol several months ago," and he called and said we've heard about your 'Take Back Our Highways' campaign and how successful it is. Can we participate in it?"

That mean in a four-state area you'll find checkpoints and increased patrols, including unmarked cars, not just to issue tickets but to take dangerous drivers off the road.

"It would be great if we never wrote any tickets, because everybody was doing the right things," Murphy added.

The program started back in 2006 when Alabama's fatality rate was higher than it had been in more than 30 years. Since then, troopers say it has saved more than 200 lives.

Thankfully, none of the injuries in the car vs. minivan accident is considered life-threatening.

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