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Special to the News
Over the course of 2023, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, or ALEA, recorded a decrease in fatalities on Alabama’s roadways.
Troopers assigned to ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division investigated crashes that resulted in 26 fewer lives lost in 2023 as compared to 2022, which is a positive trend spanning over the last two years as 2022 saw a decline of 19 fatalities as compared to 2021.
“I would like to personally thank the public for sharing our safety messages and their assistance in making our roadways safer for everyone. However, while we are constantly striving to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on our roadways, our work at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is never done. There are still families whose loved ones did not return home safely this holiday season, and they are grieving for those who were lost in traffic crashes,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said. “Tragically, our troopers continue to investigate traffic crashes resulting in individuals failing to return home to their friends and loved ones.”
For the second year, the agency used the festive season to promote traffic safety and presented a variety of relative topics during ALEA’s “12 Days of Safety” which ran from Thursday, December 21, through Monday, January 1. Topics ranged from winterizing and preparing your vehicle before you hit the road, to seat belt safety and risky driving behaviors such as impaired and drowsy driving.
Unfortunately, 19 lives were lost during the official nine-day travel period; two were motorcyclists and one was a pedestrian. Of the 16 who were traveling in vehicles equipped with seat belts, three were using seat belts, but 12 were not buckled in. (Troopers have not determined whether the sixteenth person was using a seat belt.)
The fatal crashes occurred in Calhoun, Chambers, Cleburne, Houston, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Marengo, Montgomery, Russell, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, and Wilcox counties.
“However, we focus on the many facets of traffic safety 365 days a year,” Colonel Jon Archer, director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety said. “Our goal is to make Alabama roadways – and waterways – as safe as possible, and we work daily to prevent traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities. Seat belts are a motorists’ first line of defense, significantly reducing the risk of injuries and fatalities in the event of a collision. Motorists are reminded to always buckle your seat belt when operating a motor vehicle.”
In 2023, ALEA troopers investigated a total of 31,717 traffic crashes, which resulted in 11,070 injuries, and includes 560 fatal injuries. Crashes declined by 273; however, injuries increased by 156 in 2023 compared to 2022 totals.
Archer continued to emphasize the importance of remaining courteous on the roadways, no matter what time of year.
“Please understand ALEA troopers who make traffic stops and enforce Alabama’s laws are attempting to save lives,” he stated. “Those laws are to protect each citizen and visitor of this great state and reduce fatal tragedies. 2023 marks the second year we have seen an overall reduction in lives lost on Alabama roadways, and we have already begun implementing plans and initiatives ensuring that trend continues in 2024.”