Holiday travel time begins

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 15, 2000

with Lights On For Love


Staff Writer

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You better not drink.

You better not drive.

Law enforcement officers are telling you why.

Today, motorists are asked to observe national Lights On for Love Day and

drive with headlights on in the daylight hours in memory of those who were victims of drunk drivers.

Yellow ribbons will be tied on car antennas and pinned to lapel in remberance of loved ones lost because of drunk drivers.

Dec. 15-17 is National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend, which is a pre-holiday safety campaign that encourages motorists to buckle up, obey speed limits and refrain from drinking and driving. During the weekend, Alabama State Troopers will turn on their patrol car lights and ask others to do the same.

Gov. Don Siegelman addressed the importance of sober driving during the holidays.

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

As attorney general, Siegelman pushed for legislation which lowered the legal blood alcohol level from .10 percent to .08 and doubled the fines for those who are caught driving under the influence.

The, after becoming governor, he worked to pass legislation imposing new penalties against people who drive drunk with children in the vehicle.

"Alabama does not tolerate people who drink and drive," Siegelman said. "I urge motorists to drive responsibly during this holiday season and caution those who are tempted to break Alabama’s DUI laws that the consequences are not worth it."

Troopers will conduct checkpoints and intensify enforcement efforts through the weekend and the upcoming holiday travel period in an effort to prevent drunken driving and remove impaired drivers from Alabama’s roadways.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety estimates 14 people will die in vehicle accidents during the 78-hour Christmas travel period, which begins at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22 and ends midnight on Dec. 25.

In 1999, seven people ­ six on rural roads and one in an urban area ­ died in vehicle crashes on Alabama roadways during the 78-hour Christmas period. Alcohol was a factor in at least five of the deaths and two of the victims were not wearing seat belts.

The traffic fatality prediction for New Year’s is that nine people will die in traffic accidents between Dec. 29 and midnight, Jan. 1, 2001.

Last year, eight people ­ five on rural roads and three in urban areas ­ died during that 78-hour travel period. At least three of the deaths were alcohol related and three of the victims were not wearing seat belts.

Local law enforcement officers are hoping there are no deaths in Pike County and encourage motorists to drive responsibly and safely.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage recommended making preparations for travel so drivers are not in a rush and speed to get where they are going.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas reminded drivers to obey traffic laws so festivities do not end tragically.

Yellow ribbons are available at Charles Henderson High School.