State trooper talks spike in traffic fatalities ahead of Labor Day weekend
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Traffic fatalities have soared in Alabama this year. Officials say Alabama is on track to have more than 600 traffic deaths by the end of the year. Highways turn deadly due to drunk driving, speeding, and lack of seat belts.
State troopers said traffic fatalities are up 30 percent since this same time last year. More than 400 people have died on the roads this year.
“The vast majority of crashes we’re having, especially here in Alabama, even though we’ve passed a seat belt law a few years ago, there’s a lot of people still not wearing their seat belts and they make up a vast majority of people who are actually killed in crashes,” said state trooper Curtis Summerville.
Summerville said they are expecting a high volume of traffic as people try to squeeze in their last summer vacations.
“If we do not write a single ticket and not have a single traffic fatality as a result of us just being present rather than being an invisible reminder to people, [it might] change people’s behaviors,” he said.
Summerville said if they can do that, they’ll be happy. He hopes he doesn’t have to make any death notifications this weekend. He said it’s the worst part of the job.
“Especially when you go tell a family of a teenager, that their teenager will no longer be coming home anymore, that he won’t be coming home for breakfast in the morning, he won’t be there for dinner, won’t be there for the holidays, won’t be there for anything because he or she was involved in a traffic crash,” he explains.
Summerville wants to urge people on the roads this weekend to be courteous. It just might save your life.
“Allowing someone to get over if they need to get over, if someone is merging on the interstate allow that person to merge over, you know not following too close, those things, that little bit of courtesy goes a long way in traffic crashes,” he said.
Trooper Summerville urges drivers on the roads to be aware of their surroundings. He said they will be partnering with other law enforcement to make sure there are proper numbers patrolling the highways ahead of the Labor Day weekend.