NORTH ALABAMA (WHNT) — To keep the roads and community safe, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is urging you to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s responsibly. Officials say the state’s Highway Patrol Division will have zero tolerance for impaired drivers this holiday season.

ALEA says drinking any amount of alcohol before driving can risk the safety of both the driver and others on the road. Alcohol impairs thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination.

“The days leading up to Christmas through New Year’s Day are a wonderful time for celebration and happiness, as this is truly a season to cherish with friends and family,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor. “However, we all must remember the hazards associated with traveling during this busy time of year. Whether it is preparing your vehicle for long trips and changing weather conditions to being smart while driving defensively on short trips, we strongly encourage motorists to be aware and take full advantage of the tips within this safety message. This Agency is devoted to saving lives and ensuring everyone travels safely and returns home safely.” 

The extended holiday travel period will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, and end at midnight Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. 

During this time, state troopers assigned to the Highway Patrol Division will conduct a variety of enforcement activities. This will include driver’s license and equipment checkpoints, to curb such deadly behaviors as driving under the influence, driving while distracted, not buckling up, speeding and following too closely. 

Continuing their education through the holiday season, the agency will also launch an online “12 Days of Safety” campaign. 

This will begin Thursday, Dec. 22, and run through New Year’s until Jan. 2, 2023.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says traffic crashes involving an impaired driver killed 937 people nationwide in December 2020.

Speeding remains one of America’s most dangerous driving behaviors and was a contributing factor in 29 percent of all fatal crashes in 2020, according to NHTSA data.

Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety, Colonel Jimmy Helms said speeding and impaired driving continue to be leading factors in motor vehicle accidents during the holidays.

“Therefore, ALEA continues to stress the importance of following all traffic laws, especially obeying all posted speed limits,” he said. “It is also extremely critical to understand and remember, if you plan to ring in the New Year, you must celebrate responsibly. While rejoicing in the holiday activities it’s vital that everyone use a designated driver or some type of a ride-sharing service, because ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division will have a zero tolerance for impaired drivers this holiday travel period.”

If you’d like to learn more safety tips from the ALEA, click here