TPD, troopers step up

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 30, 2000

patrol over holiday weekend


Staff Writer

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Those traveling to and fro over the July 4 holiday better follow the traffic laws or it could cost them.

Drivers found to be speeding, driving while intoxicated, without liability insurance and no seat belt could find themselves in trouble because law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for them.

Locally, officers with the Troy Police Department will step up its already intense traffic enforcement efforts, said Chief Anthony Everage.

He said officers will pay particular attention to those speeding, running red lights and impaired drivers.

Alabama State Troopers are participating in "Operation Zero Tolerance," a statewide safety campaign emphasizing DUI enforcement.

With the help of an $800,000 federal grant, Alabama law enforcement officers will be out in full force over the four-day holiday that begins at 6 p.m. today and ends at midnight Tuesday.

They are urging all motorists to refrain from drinking and driving to avoid deadly consequences.

Gov. Don Siegelman is joining officers in promoting a safe and sober holiday.

"I have worked hard to give Alabama the toughest drunk driving laws in the nation," Siegelman said.

As the state’s Attorney General, Siegelman pushed for legislation that lowered the legal blood alcohol level from .10 percent to .08 and doubled the fines. Since becoming governor, legislation imposing new penalties against those driving drunk with children in the vehicle has been imposed.

"I urge motorists to drive responsibly during the holiday weekend and caution those who are tempted to break Alabama’s DUI laws that the consequences will not be worth it," Siegelman said.

All available Troopers will be on duty throughout the holiday and will concentrate patrols on heavily traveled vacation and beach routes, such as U.S. 231 and 331 south of Montgomery, Alabama 59 in Baldwin County and Interstate 65.

Selected areas will be targeted for aerial speed enforcement and driver’s license checkpoints.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety estimates 18 people will die in traffic accidents over the four-day holiday.

In 1999, 12 people died during the 78-hour July 4 holiday period. At least two of those deaths were alcohol related and only three of the accident victims were wearing seat belts.

Under Alabama’s child restraint law, safety seats are required for children through age 3. Children ages 4 and 5 must be secured in a child safety seat of a regular safety belt.

State law also requires all front-seat occupants to be wearing seat belts.

"The Troy Police Department will not just be concentrating our efforts on drivers," Everage said, adding personnel will be answering complaint calls in addition to any possible holiday problems.