ALEA: 4 traffic fatalities, 0 boating deaths during July 4 weekend
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVY) - With the extended Fourth of July weekend in the rearview mirror, investigative results from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) reveal a positive trend in reduced fatalities compared to last year.
According to the new information from ALEA released on Friday, their Highway Patrol Division investigated just four traffic fatalities in this year’s holiday period, resulting in a 50 percent decrease from 2022′s traffic death numbers.
“Our Troopers did outstanding work this holiday period, conducting numerous high-visibility details and safety initiatives,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor. “We will continue to promote public safety throughout the state on both Alabama’s roadways and waterways in order to reduce crashes and save lives.
“Even though four fewer lives were lost this Fourth of July travel period compared to last year, our goal is always zero. We must remember that we all can do our part to help make the roadways and waterways safe for everyone.”
The four Trooper-investigated traffic fatalities occurred in Perry, Tuscaloosa, Mobile and Houston counties, with it being noted that of the deaths of three drivers (one individual was killed while operating an all-terrain vehicle (ATV)), two of those drivers were not using seatbelts.
Looking to the boating numbers, the Marine Patrol Division reported zero investigations into any marine fatalities (drownings) during the extended holiday period from midnight on Friday, June 30 to 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4.
Six boating crashes were investigated in the state on Fish River, Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Wedowee, Smith Lake, Wilson Lake and Wheeler Lake, with only four injuries coming as a result to those crashes, with this year’s total being two fewer during the same time period in 2022.
“Once again, two of ALEA’s DPS Divisions partnered with local, state and federal agencies to promote safety,” said Colonel Jon Archer, Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). “Marine Patrol joined the U.S. Coast Guard, Alabama Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and other agencies for Operation Dry Water, a national year-round boating under the influence (BUI) awareness and enforcement campaign.
“We hope everyone had fun this Fourth of July, but summer boating season is only beginning. If you plan to spend time on Alabama waterways, please be aware of the dangers of the water, particularly what we call ‘boater’s fatigue,’ caused by the combination of sun, wind, noise, vibration and the movement of the boat. Not only can it impair judgment and risk the safety of your passengers and other boaters, but consuming alcohol intensifies the effect.”
In addition to their normal work during the holiday weekend, Highway Patrol also joined other local, state and federal first responders during the five-day travel period for the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” safety initiative, which combats driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol. ALEA also scheduled informative media days across the state, and conducted several enforcement activities to tackle deadly roadway behavior.
ALEA’s Aviation Unit also underwent a patrol period from Saturday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 4 to help keep the state’s beaches safe, partnering with the city of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for air patrol to assist with rescuing swimmers in distress and in other incidents. This patrol resulted 12 beach safety flights, with Aviation responding to two swimmer needing assistance calls, both of which were helped by ground crew prior to Aviation’s arrival.
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