HUNTSVILLE, Ala — Travelers are on the roads in full force this Labor Day weekend. Many law enforcement agencies across North Alabama are using grant funds to pay overtime for traffic enforcement to keep you safe.
Huntsville police are monitoring a particularly deadly stretch of road. Police are keeping a close eye on Chapman Mountain.
Officials from the police department say it’s an area notorious for speeding and they hope to pump the brakes on dangerous driving by adding traffic patrols in the area.
23, 19 and 10… those are the numbers of fatalities on Huntsville roads in 2016, 2017 and so far this year. In 2016, six of the 23 fatal crashes were DUI related. Six of the 23 fatal crashes were also drinking-related in 2016. Only one of the 10 crashes this year was due to a driver not being sober.
Fortunately, the number of fatal crashes and DUI related fatalities appear to be going down. Huntsville Lieutenant Michael Johnson says while the DUI related fatalities are going down, speed is a big contributing factor to these kinds of car wrecks. That’s why it’s so important to follow the speed limit.
Chapman Mountain is on police officers’ radar as a hot spot.
“A hot spot is a location that is prime for having accidents with injuries or just accidents in general,” Johnson said.
He says the area is particularly dangerous near the interstate on-ramp.
“That speed limit change that’s still a dangerous area for accidents as well during rush hour,” the Huntsville officer described.
Another area that’s dicey? The stop sign at Highway 72 and Epworth Drive.
“People have to merge over and like I said the speed limit is 50 mph. Where else are you going to find a stop sign at a location like this that’s why we have to keep it 50 miles an hour,” he said.
Many are specifically targeting Chapman Mountain to enforce that 50 mile an hour speed limit.
“Our goal is to get people to slow down,” Johnson said.
Traffic enforcement has clocked people driving as fast as 80 and even 90 miles an hour in this area.
“90 miles an hour in a 50 mile an hour zone, that deserves a citation, not a warning,” he said.
Johnson says the blue flashing lights tend to slow other drivers down by serving as a warning.
He hopes it’s enough to entice drivers to ease off the gas because taking it’s better to arrive safely instead of quickly.
Officers will also be keeping a close eye on South Memorial Parkway.
Lieutenant Johnson wants to remind people the speed limit is reduced in that area due to ongoing construction.