Spring Break safety tips - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Spring Break safety tips

(WAFF) -

Spring break is well underway for several school systems here in north Alabama and more will be taking place over the next few weeks. Police in coastal Alabama beach cities want the kids to have a safe and enjoyable Spring Break. Parents are encouraged to review policies that have been put in place to ensure the safety of their children.

The Gulf Shores Police Department has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy of misbehavior during Spring Break. This is in response to increased problems on the beaches in recent years. The problems range from drunken, disorderly conduct to congregations of large crowds, and other lewd activity. A warning was recently posted on the Gulf Shores Police Department Facebook page.

The Zero Tolerance policy has ordinances that include:

  • No possession or consumption of alcohol on beach project sand areas during the designated periods: March 1st- April 17, 2017.
  • No sleeping in vehicles or out-of-doors.
  • No erection of tents and shelters or abandonment of beach equipment on public beaches.
  • No unreasonable noise or vibration.
  • No fires on the beach.

Increased pedestrian traffic along the main beach road, Highway 182, has been another issue of concern for the safety of spring breakers. Pedestrians are encouraged to stay a safe distance from the roadway. Motorists that are texting and driving or under the influence of alcohol pose a threat to these pedestrians. Kasey Waychoff, an Oklahoma State University student, was struck and killed by a drunk driver in the early morning hours of March 21, 2014. Gulf Shores Police Department have since increased road patrols in the area to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again.

Sgt. Jason Woodruff with the Gulf Shores Police Department recommends kids exercise common sense while on their vacation. He says, "You can still absolutely come and pretty much have the fun you want to have, it's just a matter of not getting out and being drunk and disorderly in public."

Woodruff urges parents to talk with their teenagers about underage drinking. It is a big part of the zero tolerance policy and those that partake in this activity are subject to arrest. College students that are of drinking age are reminded that the alcohol ban on beaches will be enforced as well.

"The arrest numbers are definitely up. The weather I think is probably keeping some people inside, but the numbers are up from what they would be on a regular day. And it's mostly alcohol related. Mostly people that have really drawn attention to themselves, not so much people that we have been out looking for. I would say 3/4 of the time it's, you know someone that draws the attention of officers on patrol or more than likely that disrupts a neighborhood or condo to the point that someone calls the police," said Woodruff.

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