MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - This season Alabama State Troopers are seeing a decrease in traffic fatalities compared to this time last year and they believe there are several factors to the decrease. With Summer in full swing and more people hitting the roads headed to their favorite summer vacation spots they are reminding people to stay safe on the roads.
“It is unbelievable every time I get on the road, whether it is I-65 or just got from Wetumpka on 231, it is just bumper to bumper,” said Ned McHenry.
McHenry, a former Alabama Public Safety Director, says a lot has changed on the roadways since he was a Trooper. This is why he’s always mindful when getting behind the wheel.
“You have to learn how to play dodge ball lot of crazy drivers so driving defensively,” said McHenry.
No matter how long the trip, Lorenzo Swanson says he realizes you can’t do two things at one time.
“Put the phone to the side and just stay focused just don’t let nothing get in the way,” said Swanson.
Alabama State Trooper Jesse Thornton says these drivers have the right idea.
“Collisions are occurring because of driver error and because people are not obeying the law," said Thornton.
So far this year Alabama State Troopers have worked 245 traffic fatalities. That’s down from 275 this time last year. Motorist are being applauded for the decrease, but there are other reasons believed to be behind the decrease.
“We are putting more troopers on the highway. We have just graduated a class, we have a class going right now,” said Thornton.
And to keep that number trending down those hitting the road headed this summer are being reminded of ways to prevent accidents.
“It could have been avoided just by not driving impaired, wearing a seat belt, and driving the speed limit. They need to patience, obey the laws, and practice those defensive driving skills," said Thornton.
Alabama does have a new seat belt law that will require backseat passengers to buckle up. Cpl. Thornton says with 100 percent compliance with this law it is very well possible to see a significant decrease in the amount of lives lost in crashes.
ALEA is already preparing for the Fourth of July. Expect Troopers to be visible out on the roads conducting speed details, driver license check points, and looking for those who are not obeying the laws.