By Amalia Kortright, For The Tribune
MONTGOMERY — With the Fourth of July drawing near, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is encouraging Alabama citizens to make sure to stay safe while traveling, grilling out and shooting fireworks. ALEA is also participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, as well as the Operation Dry Water campaign.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, headed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is a national initiative to decrease and raise awareness about driving under the influence. Operation Dry Water is an effort to diminish boating while under the influence.
“Safety is always a priority, particularly as Independence Day weekend festivities may involve alcohol and may result in traffic or boating crashes, injuries and fatalities,” Alabama’s Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler said. “By all means, have fun. Just designate a driver to get you home safely, whether on the water or roadway.”
Additionally, Alabama State Troopers will increase their presence on Alabama’s roadways and waterways and take extra shifts from Friday, July 1 to midnight on Monday, July 4. This is made possible through grants from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Department of Transportation.
“Troopers assigned to Marine Patrol will work to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water,” ALEA’s Director of Public Safety John Richardson said.
During last year’s Fourth of July weekend, State Troopers investigated five fatalities on the roadways and three boating fatalities in Alabama.
In addition to staying sober while operating any motorized vehicle, ALEA also encourages citizens to wear seat belts while on the roadways and U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets while boating. Citizens are also urged to remain focused while driving or boating, and to avoid distractions like texting or talking on cell phones.
ALEA also stresses the importance of remaining cautious and alert while driving in construction zones, as speeding, distracted driving and driving under the influence poses the most risk to citizens who are driving through these areas. Parents are also encouraged to closely monitor teenagers and prevent the underage use of alcoholic beverages.
“We look forward to joining our county and municipal law enforcement partners to reduce injuries and deaths during this holiday period by enforcing traffic, boating and alcoholic beverage laws,” Stabler said.