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ALEA urges drivers to be careful on the road this holiday weekend

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) - Call it a blessing for business, or a curse for local drivers but because of Alabama's proximity to beach destinations, you'll see a lot of drivers on highways and interstates for the Fourth of July.

AAA projects 43 million people are traveling this holiday weekend. That's the largest number on record. It won't just be drivers, you'll see law enforcement keeping an eye on things as well.  “Certainly watch for other vehicles. They’re going to be a lot of people on the interstate," says Trooper Curtis Summerville, spokesman for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Trooper Summerville wants you to always obey the rules of the road, but especially on weekends where so many children are in the car, traveling with their parents.  “Not drinking and driving, wearing your seatbelt, not speeding, all of these things. We want you to keep that in mind because you’re dealing with a whole different perspective when you got a lot of people traveling," says Summerville.

According to ALEA officials, you'll see troopers in full force in areas where they see the most traffic fatalities. Huntsville Police also plans to have several DUI checkpoints, so before you open up that can of beer, make sure you have a designated driver.

Make no mistake, Trooper Summerville says a designated driver does NOT mean they've been drinking. “That means you drink zero, you drink absolutely nothing. If you have something to drink, you’re not the designated driver," he says.

While law enforcement will write a lot of tickets this weekend, Trooper Summerville says it's not for the money.  “We take the loss of life personally and so this is why we get out and do what we do in terms of writing tickets and getting drunks off the road," he says.

After all, it wouldn't be much of an Independence Day celebration, sitting in a jail cell or worse, mourning the loss of a loved one.

Trooper Summerville says driving while taking certain prescription medications or illegal substances, also counts as driving under the influence here in Alabama.