Dept. of Safety: Drinking, driving

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 28, 2000

don’t mix during New Year’s holiday


Staff Writer

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Dec. 27, 2000 10 PM

Anyone planning to ring in the new year with a drink, might want to think twice before getting behind the wheel.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety estimates 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 hope ringing in the year 2001 will not include deaths on Pike County roadways and encourage motorists to drive responsibly and safely.

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage and Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas reminded drivers to obey traffic laws so festivities do not end tragically.

They also strongly urge those planning to drink to have a designated driver.

Those that don’t and are stopped will face some stiff penalties.

As attorney general, now-Gov Don 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.

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

"I have worked hard to give Alabama the toughest drunk driving laws in the nation," Siegelman said. "Alabama does not tolerate people who drink and drive.

"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."

In addition to local patrols, Alabama State Troopers will conduct checkpoints and intensify enforcement efforts through the weekend in an effort to prevent drunken driving and remove impaired drivers from Alabama’s roadways.