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Troopers investigate 14 traffic deaths during extended nine-day holiday period
Special to the News
Over the course of 2022, Troopers with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division investigated crashes that resulted in 19 fewer lives lost on Alabama’s roadways.
This past year, ALEA Troopers investigated a total of 31,990 traffic crashes, which resulted in 10,914 injuries and 586 fatalities reported. Crashes declined by 2,185, and injuries were down 646 in 2022 from the 2021 totals.
ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said, “We would like to thank the motoring public for their diligence and continuous efforts in assisting law enforcement, which enabled ALEA Troopers to reduce the number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities, ultimately making Alabama roadways safer. However, this extended holiday travel period still reminds us that we need to remain constant in our resolve to create an environment of safety on our state’s roadways. Unfortunately, this year there were 14 lives tragically lost.”
The extended holiday travel period spanned over nine days and began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, December 24, and ended at midnight Sunday, January 1, 2023. The fatal crashes occurred in Baldwin, Chambers, Chilton, Dallas, DeKalb, Elmore, Jefferson, Limestone, Marshall, Monroe, and Tuscaloosa counties.
Of those killed, 11 were drivers, and three were passengers. All were traveling in vehicles equipped with seat belts; four individuals were using them, and nine were not. In one case, it is unknown whether a seat belt was used.
Colonel Jimmy Helms, director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety, agreed and said, “Our troopers did a phenomenal job this year actively patrolling and working numerous high-visibility details in order to reduce crashes and save lives. However, they were tasked with notifying the loved ones of these 14 individuals following the fatal crashes over the holiday season. This is one of the most difficult parts of our job, and we at ALEA offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones.”
ALEA would like to remind everyone how important traffic safety is and urge the motoring public to begin 2023 with a pledge to make it a top priority at all times of the year.
An initiative for the agency over the course of the next year will be to focus on both education and enforcement as it relates to the use of seat belts. Regardless if an individual is a driver or passenger, buckling up is the single most effective action one can take to protect themselves in a crash.
During the holiday season ALEA also promoted its “12 Days of Safety” initiative to reiterate traffic safety and encourage safe driving behaviors through a variety of enforcement activities, including driver license and equipment check points, to curb such deadly behaviors as driving under the influence, driving while distracted, not buckling up, speeding, and following too closely.
Secretary Taylor encourages everyone to be familiar with the holiday campaign’s safety tips throughout the year, which are still available on the agency’s website, www.alea.gov.
Taylor stated, “We wish everyone a happy New Year! With your assistance, we will make it a safe year – aiming toward even lower totals at the end of 2023.”