ALEA: 9 road deaths, 3 drownings, 0 boating deaths over July 4th weekend
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ALEA: 9 road deaths, 3 drownings, 0 boating deaths over July 4th weekend

ALEA: 9 road deaths, 3 drownings, 0 boating deaths over July 4th weekend
(ALEAProtects/Instagram)

MONTGOMERY, Alabama. – During the five-day enforcement period, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) officers investigated a total of nine traffic fatalities and three non-boating fatalities (drownings). However, this was the third consecutive year that the state recorded no boating fatalities on Alabama waterways.

The official Fourth of July travel period began at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, and ended at midnight Sunday, July 7, with AAA predicting a record travel period this year, surpassing pre-pandemic numbers. Traffic fatalities occurred in Calhoun, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Cullman, Escambia, Jackson, Marshall and Tuscaloosa counties, with Wednesday, July 3, the only day without a fatality. Of those killed, six were drivers, one was a passenger and two were motorcyclists. Both motorcyclists were wearing helmets at the time of the crashes, but only one of the seven occupants of the vehicles equipped with seat belts was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Three drownings occurred at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County, Wheeler Lake in Morgan County and Palmetto Creek in Baldwin County.

ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said, “Sadly, this holiday season ended in tragedy for 12 individuals and their loved ones, to whom we offer our deepest condolences. To law enforcement, this number is a stark reminder that our work is never done. While I commend all of our officers and public first responders who worked tirelessly during the holiday season away from their families, I also promise the public that our Agency will continue its mission to protect and serve by conducting high-visibility enforcement and providing educational opportunities to combat unsafe driving and boating habits and reduce the number of such tragedies.”

During the holidays, ALEA officers conducted numerous driver’s license checks and participated in national campaigns such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Operation Dry Water, as part of an increased effort to reduce crashes, discourage speeding and remove impaired drivers from Alabama’s roads and waterways. Officers assigned to the ALEA Highway Patrol Division investigated 206 traffic crashes, made 48 DUI arrests, issued 2,429 speeding tickets and issued 1,211 tickets for seat belts and/or improper child seats. Officers assigned to the ALEA Marine Patrol Division investigated 14 boating incidents, made 14 DUI arrests, issued 206 maritime safety tickets and issued 852 maritime safety warnings. Officers also conducted 671 vessel inspections and patrolled 36 marine-related events across the state, many of which included waterside fireworks displays.

ALEA Public Safety Director Colonel Jonathan Archer said, “I second Secretary Taylor’s comments: our work is never done. As summer activities and travel increase, it is imperative that safety remains a top priority for all. Remember to wear your seat belt, put away your phone and other distractions, and never operate a vehicle or boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our officers will continue to work diligently to enforce traffic and boating laws to protect the lives of all Alabama residents and visitors. We are continuing our “101 Days of Summer Safety” educational campaign and Rescue Swimmer Detail on the Gulf Coast. We will begin Rural Road Safety Awareness Week on July 15, and then join our neighbors in Georgia in a joint safety initiative known as “Operation Southern Slow Down” that same day to focus on speeding and reckless driving.”

Additionally, the ALEA Aviation Unit, in conjunction with the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Fire Departments, participated in the Rescue Swimmer Detail from Thursday, July 4 through Monday, July 8. During that time, the Aviation Unit conducted 12 patrol flights, responded to four calls, and conducted 10 Rescue Swimmers exercises.

The agency would also like to remind beachgoers that although Hurricane Beryl has made landfall in Texas and is now a tropical depression, the threat of strong rip currents along the Gulf of Mexico remains high, even in Alabama. Please exercise caution when swimming and check local surf and weather conditions. Beachgoers visiting Orange Beach and Gulf Shores can sign up to receive daily beach conditions and beach warning flag status by texting ALBEACHES to 888777.