Troopers end 2017 with fewer traffic fatalities than 2016

Troopers end 2017 with fewer traffic fatalities than 2016

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Alabama State Troopers investigated 23 traffic deaths during the holiday travel period (12:01 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 to midnight Monday, Jan. 1, 2018). Twenty-three may sound like a lot, but that's down from the same period in 2016, when troopers investigated 31 traffic fatalities.

Trooper Curtis Summerville said the reason is because drivers are listening.

"Well first of all, let us congratulate the people on what they did, being safe around the holiday," Summerville said.

He believes there are several reasons for the decrease in traffic deaths.

"Even with the media, there are a lot of commercials on what can happen if you have too much to drink over the holidays. I think people are listening," he said.

Summerville said troopers were working overtime this holiday season. And even when they were off duty, the conversation was all about safety.

"Whether they're at the grocery store, at the mall, if they talk to people and people know they're a state trooper, they're preaching safety," he said.

Summerville said year-round, troopers head to schools and try to catch kids early.

"We get into the schools, catch them early. Try to get kids 14, 15 years old. That makes a difference," he said. "Because if we can change their behavior before they get out and drive, that certainly makes a difference."

It isn't just the holiday fatalities that decreased. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency wrapped up 2017 with fewer traffic fatality investigations than 2016. In 2017, troopers investigated 598 traffic deaths. That's 73 fewer, than 2016's 671 traffic deaths.

"We look at it as an achievement for us. We probably didn't write any more tickets, but we did change behavior. If we can change behavior and not write a single ticket, we achieved our goals," Summerville said.

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