• 64°

Police plan to step up holiday patrols

Staff Writer

Nov. 23, 199 11 PM

With additional traffic expected over the Thanksgiving holiday, area law enforcement officers are asking all motorists to ensure safe travel by buckling up, obeying all traffic laws and not drinking and driving.

Officers with the Troy Police Department will be monitoring traffic flow through Troy and making sure drivers obey laws, said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, the department’s public information officer. Police will be running radar on major thoroughfares, such as U.S. Highway 231, and monitoring traffic in the downtown area.

Although today is the busiest day of the year on roads nationwide, Scarbrough said he expects the most traffic locally on Thursday as residents visit relatives in town.

"We want to remind people to obey the laws as it refers to speed and occupant restraints," he said. "If an individual is going to consume alcohol, do not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle."

Besides local police officers, Alabama State Troopers will be out in force thanks to federal overtime grants that will allow for them to patrol roads throughout the holiday period.

Troopers will concentrate patrols on interstates and other heavily traveled roadways and will emphasize enforcement of speed limit, DUI, safety belt and child restraint laws, according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

Troopers remind holiday travelers they can report highway emergencies by dialing *HP on their cellular telephones.

Department of Public Safety officials estimate 18 people may die in traffic crashes on Alabama roads during the 102-hour holiday period, which starts today at 6 p.m. and continues until midnight Sunday.

Last year, eight Alabamians died in traffic accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday period. At least three of the deaths were alcohol-related. Only three of the crash victims were using safety belts.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage reminded motorists that enforcement of the primary safety belt law begins Dec. 10.

The new law allows officers to ticket motorists for failure to buckle up without first citing them for another traffic offense. Failure of front seat occupants to buckle up carries a $25 fine plus any applicable court costs.

Alabama’s child restraint law requires a child safety seat for children through age three in front and back seats, according to the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Children ages four and five must be secured in a child safety seat or regular safety belt.

"Our main concern is that the law abiding citizens of Troy, their visitors and people passing through town have a safe and happy holiday season," Everage said.