'Less drinking, more thinking' advice from law officers

Labor Day weekend marks the end of another summer, with trips to the beach, the lake and other fun-filled destinations. For many, the extended holiday consists of festivities and celebrations that include consuming alcoholic beverages.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable Labor Day but strongly urges citizens to remember: Drinking and driving or drinking and boating do not mix.

“Safety is one of our top priorities throughout the year but it’s especially important during extended holiday weekends when there is an elevated number of citizens traveling and enjoying outdoor activities,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said Sept. 4. “Our goal is simple: we strive to ensure that Alabama’s roadways and waterways are safe for everyone throughout the entire weekend.”

This year’s holiday travel period is from 12:01 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4, until midnight Monday, Sept. 7. During that time, all available troopers from ALEA’s Highway Patrol and Marine Patrol will be out on Alabama’s roadways and waterways, assisting motorists and boaters, enforcing the law and looking for impaired drivers and boat operators.

Alabamians can expect to see additional troopers working overtime to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities thanks to grants administered through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Alabama Department of Transportation.

Once again the agency is participating in the national initiative Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over (and Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over). The campaign educates drivers and riders on the dangers of alcohol and drug-impaired driving and riding, as well as heightens awareness of increased enforcement. During this final week of the campaign, ALEA Troopers will be conducting sobriety and driver license checkpoints, speed and seat-belt enforcement details and maximizing efforts to remove impaired individuals from behind the wheels of vehicles and boats (or other water vessels).

“Your cooperation is essential so we ask you to do your part to make this Labor Day weekend a safe one,” said Taylor, who urges everyone to adhere to the following safety tips:

• Do not drive or operate a boat (or other vessel) under the influence of alcohol or

drugs. Select a designated driver in advance, call a cab or ride-share service or call a

sober friend of family member to get you home safely;

• Expect traffic heavier than usual. Adjust travel plans to accommodate busier roadways

and waterways and leave a bit earlier;

• Obey the law. Avoid speeding, following too closely and other dangerous behaviors on

roadways and waterways;

• Buckle up. It’s simple. Use seat belts and child safety seats -- no matter how short a trip.

• Stay off the water during inclement weather. Monitor local weather and avoid going

out when the forecast predicts thunder and lightning;

• On waterways, use personal flotation devices. They should always be available

to all passengers, but the law requires children age eight and younger to wear them;

• Use caution when traveling through construction zones. For the safety of the traveling

public, construction industry workers and maintenance crews, ALDOT will suspend

temporary lane closures on interstates (and possibly other highways) from noon Friday,

Sept. 4, until midnight Monday, Sept. 7; and,

• Don’t forget your mask. Governor Kay Ivey has extended the current Safer at Home

order and statewide mask ordinance until Friday, Oct. 2, to combat the spread of COVID-

19. Everyone is encouraged to use personal protective equipment and practice social

distancing when out in public.

“We want all Alabamians to enjoy the upcoming Labor Day holiday,” said Taylor. “All we ask is

that you make smart choices and celebrate responsibly.”

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