Police plan heightened patrols for holidays

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 23, 1999

Staff Writer

Dec. 22, 1999 11 PM

With additional traffic expected over the Christmas 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.

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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, Scarbrough said.

"We want to remind people to obey the law as it refers to speed and occupant restraints," he said. "The volume of traffic on 231 at this time of year is great, and we ask drivers to observe the speed limit.

"If an individual is going to consume alcohol, do not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. With all the traffic, the chance of injuries and even death from motor vehicle accidents is greater, and we don’t want to have a catastrophe, especially at this time of year."

Scarbrough said the Troy Police Department is not increasing its speed patrols with the goal of making money from traffic fines.

"We are trying to protect the many visitors and residents who are on our roads and aid and assist motorists," he added.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage reminded motorists that officers are now enforcing the primary safety belt law.

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. "

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.