PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - As the number of deaths on Alabama roads continue to rise, so does the presence of law enforcement. Alabama State Trooper Cpl. Jesse Thornton said the number of deaths on roads compared to last year in Alabama have skyrocketed and there is still time for that number to grow.
"People call them accidents, but we don't call them that," said Thornton. "We call them collisions and it's because of driver error. People are making the decision to get behind the wheel."
Thornton said 40 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by driving under the influence.
"People are choosing to drink and drive," said Thornton. "They're speeding or driving while distracted."
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said people will see more troopers on the roads during the holiday season. Thornton said after being on the force for over 12 years, holidays are always a time when more traffic deaths occur.
"During the two-week holiday traveling period for last year's Christmas and New Year's, Troopers investigated 26 traffic deaths," said Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler.
In 2015 Thornton said the reported number of traffic deaths was 519. This year that number added 139, making a total of 658. But Thornton said sadly, that number will rise before 2016 comes to a close.
"It's a senseless loss of life," said Thornton.
Thornton said drivers need to be proactive and make responsible choices when getting behind the wheel.
"Every time we have to do a death notification to a family that one of their family member's died, it is preventable," said Thornton. "[Traffic deaths] can be prevented with patience, defensive driving, obeying traffic laws and making the decision to drive sober," said Thornton.