MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is urging Alabamians to drive sober this weekend or to make a plan to get home safely if they decide to drink.
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, 158 people died in Alabama in crashes involving alcohol or drug impairment in 2020.
Those deaths were entirely preventable, according to Jasmine Moore, Victims Services Specialist with the Alabama chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“One of the biggest things is driving under the influence is one of the most dangerous situations you can put yourself or anyone else into. Still millions of people decide to do it each and every day,” Moore said.
In preparation for New Year’s weekend, ALEA will have more troopers out throughout the state.
“What we actually have are driver’s license checkpoints. We have certain areas of the state that we believe we’ve seen issues in the past,” ALEA Sgt. Jeremy Burkett said.
Burkett says to follow a few simple tips to prevent a drunk driving tragedy.
“You need to have a plan. You need to have a designated driver; you need to stay at home. And there are, there is a ton of ride-sharing services out there. Call a cab, do whatever you have to do not to get behind that vehicle,” Burkett said.
In Alabama, a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or more can land even a first-time offender in jail, facing fines or with a suspended license, depending on the circumstances.
But more than just legal consequences. Moore says to consider what it would be like to lose a loved one to a drunk driver.
“It’s a very tumultuous impact on the family. Trying to understand the reasoning as to why it happened, getting through that, again, preventable death, and trying to move forward in life. That’s a huge impact on the family,” Moore said.
According to ALDOT, on average, less than one percent of crashes result in death, but that number jumps more than five times for crashes involving impaired driving.