BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – New Year’s Eve is a big night for celebrating, but it can also be a dangerous night on the roads. That’s why the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency plans to step up patrols that night.
Cpl. Steve Smith with ALEA says the agency is able to put more troopers on the roads on New Year’s Eve thanks to grants from ALDOT and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. They also plan to run check points and he expects that other agencies will do the same.
“Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is just all about saving lives,” Smith said. “That’s our main focus is public safety and saving lives. If we can save one life New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, then it’s well worth it.”
But far too often they see crashes on the holiday, and it’s not uncommon nationwide either. According to data from the National Safety Council, more than 200 people lost their lives in traffic accidents during the New Year’s Day holiday period every year from 2015 to 2018.
“We go through this every year, and we will still find impaired drivers out here,” Smith said. “And tragically we do work wrecks on New Year’s Eve, and a lot of times, those end tragically.”
Smith says ALEA will set up check points in areas where they’ve seen a large number of crashes and DUI arrests in the past. He says they’ll do their best to get impaired drivers off the road this week.
He also urges people to be responsible if they plan on drinking on New Year’s Eve. The best strategy is to make sure that you plan ahead for how you’ll get home. There are more options than ever with the many ridesharing services now available.
“There’s entirely no excuse whatsoever to get behind the wheel yourself,” Smith said. “And in this day and time, with so many options for a ride home, (there’s) absolutely zero excuse and zero tolerance from law enforcement.”