Distraction, fatigue cause traffic accidents
MADISON – State and Madison law enforcers are prepared for holiday motorists.
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) will assign additional Alabama State Troopers to roadways as more motorists travel from days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Troopers heighten patrols and enforcement from Dec. 16 through Jan. 1, 2017. “Troopers investigated 14 traffic deaths during the five-day Thanksgiving travel period,” Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler said.
During 2015, five traffic fatalities occurred in the City of Madison for the year.
Capt. John Stringer with Madison Police Department said the town’s main traffic concerns occur before an actual holiday date. “There’s a buildup in traffic prior to the holidays. Traffic becomes less of an issue during the holiday, because, in Madison, people tend to travel away from Madison. We have so many ‘transplants,'” he said.
However, the Madison force makes sure to have “a full patrol force” around the holiday season. “We make sure that officers in shifts are staffed appropriately. We’re fortunate to shift officers for peak hours of travel,” Stringer said. If a need does arise for more units, “we will have them ready to work.”
Distracted driving is the major mistake by Madison motorists in holiday traffic. “You’re even more distracted during the holidays. Especially on interstate driving, you probably have a carload of people with the kids, playing holiday music, driving for an extended period and adjusting the GPS,” Stringer said.
“Try to eliminate distraction as much as possible and reduce the risk of collision,” Stringer said.
Another mistake is driving while fatigued, especially during interstate travel. “Take a five- or 10-minute break at a restaurant or rest stop to get your body moving,” Stringer said. “When you’re in the car for long distances, we can experience fatigue and have slower reaction time.”
“Have a route that you’re going to take and let other people know, especially if the trip involves an overnight stay. You could have a collision, a breakdown or sketchy cell phone service,” Stringer said.
Madison police officers do not conduct DUI checkpoints. “We have officers out at peak times patrolling the roadways. We try to do as much preventive control as we can and be in more than one place at the same time,” Stringer said.