Major drop in traffic fatalities in Alabama this year

Updated: Mar. 28, 2019 at 4:49 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Erica Guzman and her family are headed back to Texas after a spring break swing through seven states, including Alabama. With several family members on board, including an infant, no one is taking any chances on the road, especially when you factor in the traffic in places like Florida.

“It took us a while to get through that once piece of Florida," said Guzman.

“There’s going to be a lot of people traveling,” said Alabama Trooper Jesse Thornton.

And playing it safe is what Thornton likes to hear, no matter where you travel.

“I remember there was a crash on I-65. Kids were traveling back from spring break. They were from out of state and a vehicle crossed the median, hit head-on and there were numerous fatalities involved," said Thornton.

According to the Foundation For Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, there were 268 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2017. More than 10,000 in the country that same year. 27 people under the age of 21 died in the same year on Alabama roads, slightly more than 1,000 in the U.S. And the number of teenagers arrested for driving under the influence was 42 in 2017 in Alabama. In that same year more than 5,000 in the same age bracket in the U.S.

“A lot of time people are of the mindset it’s not going to happen to them," said Thornton.

But there is encouraging news. As of today, state troopers in Alabama have worked 41 fewer traffic fatalities compared to this time last year, a nod to motorists paying more attention and not taking chances with their phones or drinking, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. The decrease in traffic fatalities is the largest decrease in state traffic fatalities in four years.

The spring break season is here. The roads are sometimes congested, but a far better problem than the alternative, one trooper Thornton rather not see again in his career.

“You think about how senseless it is,” said Thornton.

The 2017 statistics were the latest provided by the foundation.

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