Police officers in Clanton are working to make a stretch of I-65 safer.
Chief Brian Stilwell tells FOX6 there are a lot of wrecks on the stretch of interstate that goes through the Clanton city limits. Officers are now focusing their patrols on that stretch of interstate.
In fact, troopers had to shut down both north and southbound lanes of I-65 near mile marker 222 Monday after multiple accidents. Jemison police say there was an 18-wheeler accident that triggered other wrecks on the interstate.
"Whenever I do get stuck in traffic, not a very happy person," motorist Tommy Seymour said.
Seymour travels a lot from Clanton to Prattville on I-65 and he says traffic jams because of wrecks seem routine.
"There's at least one a day, most times," Seymour said.
Stilwell has three pieces of advice for motorists to cut down on wrecks.
"Slow down, put the cell phone down, pay attention on the interstate," Stilwell said.
Stilwell says his department works a number of bad accidents on I-65 inside the city limits. The worst part are the lives lost.
Stilwell says the crashes not only cause headaches for drivers but they also put a major strain on his small department.
"They usually tie us up for long period of time. The majority of the ones we've seen recently we had to shut down entire interstate and reroute traffic," Stilwell said.
In an effort to reduce the number of wrecks, he's put more officers on the interstate to catch people breaking traffic laws that lead to crashes.
"Mostly towards distracted driving, aggressive driving, following too closely and reckless driving," Stilwell said.
Chief Stilwell says speeding is the main thing contributing to accidents, but his officers can't write speeding tickets on the interstate.
State law doesn't allow police officers to do so if the interstate runs through a town with a population less than 19,000.
"It's just some things don't make sense, it's frustrating for us. So until we get that section of the speeding bill overturned or repealed, we'll not be able to so all we can to help save lives," Stilwell said.
Chief Stilwell says there are lawmakers who have tried to get that law off the books and he's hoping it'll happen this legislative session.
The Ccief says he does believe the extra patrolling on the interstate is working. He says in 2010 there were 56 accidents on I-65 in the Clanton city limits and in 2012 there were 43.
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