Troopers increase patrols in accident prone areas - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Troopers increase patrols in accident prone areas

The Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Public Safety are cooperating to boost state trooper patrols on roads where there have been a high number of deadly crashes during the past few years, Governor Bob Riley announced Thursday.

The leaders of the two agencies signed an agreement for a two-year special law enforcement program that will focus extra patrols in areas that have had the greatest number of crashes involving excessive speed and impaired driving.  The CARE Research and Development Laboratory at the University of Alabama will use statistical data to help the agencies identify those problem areas. 

The Transportation Department will use $5.6 million from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program to fund this enhanced safety effort.  The funding will provide overtime pay for state troopers to patrol the routes after their normal duty hours or on an off-day.  Some of the funds will also go toward radar equipment.          

"Most fatal crashes in Alabama involve speeding and drunk driving.  That's why this effort will focus special attention where speed and drunk driving crashes have caused an especially high number of deaths and injuries," said Governor Riley.  "The state continues working to improve safety on our roads and to protect our citizens, and I commend the leaders of both these agencies for this innovative agreement that will save lives."

"Public Safety appreciates the opportunity to work with the Department of Transportation on this valuable, new project to save lives on Alabama's roadways," said Colonel Chris Murphy, Director of Public Safety.  "We know that when troopers are on patrol to enforce traffic law, assist motorists and respond to emergencies, our roadways are safer. Increasing patrols in known high-crash areas on a continuing basis will greatly enhance troopers' work to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in our state."

"Using federal safety funds to provide overtime patrols is a proven life saver," said Transportation Director Joe McInnes. "Traffic crashes in 2006 claimed over 1,200 lives in Alabama, and this is one part of an overall effort by state government to make Alabama's highways safer. These overtime patrols funded by ALDOT will be combined with other patrol initiatives to save lives, and we will also continue efforts to use engineering techniques to make our highways safer."

The officials noted that funding for the effort comes from a dedicated safety program so it will not result in loss of funds for transportation projects.

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