Special to Atmore News
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) officials announced that in 2023 the agency recorded its second straight year of decreased fatalities on Alabama’s roadways.
Troopers assigned to ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division investigated crashes that resulted in 26 fewer lives lost in 2023 as compared to 2022. That continues a positive trend, as 2022 saw a decline of 19 fatalities as compared to 2021.
“I would like to personally thank the public for sharing our safety messages and their assistance in making our roadways safer for everyone,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said. “However, while we are constantly striving to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on our roadways, our work at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is never done. There are still families whose loved ones did not return home safely this holiday season and they are grieving for those who were lost in traffic crashes.”
For the second straight year, the agency used the festive season to promote traffic safety and presented a variety of relative topics during its “12 Days of Safety” campaign that ran from Thursday, December 21, through Monday, January 1.
Unfortunately, 19 lives were lost during the official nine-day travel period. Two were motorcyclists, and one was a pedestrian.
The fatal crashes occurred in Calhoun, Chambers, Cleburne, Houston, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Marengo, Montgomery, Russell, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox counties.
Of the 16 who were traveling in vehicles equipped with seat belts, three were buckled in, but 12 were not. (Troopers have not determined whether the 16th person was using a seat belt.)
ALEA’s Department of Public Safety Director Col. Jon Archer pointed out the importance of seat belt use is in preventing loss of life.
“Our goal is to make Alabama roadways — and waterways — as safe as possible, and we work daily to prevent traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities,” Archer said. “Seat belts are a motorists’ first line of defense, significantly reducing the risk of injuries and fatalities in the event of a collision. Motorists are reminded to always buckle your seat belt when operating a motor vehicle.”
In 2023, ALEA Troopers investigated a total of 31,717 traffic crashes that resulted in 11,070 injuries, 560 of them fatal. The number of crashes declined by 273, however injuries increased by 156 in comparison to 2022 totals.
Archer also emphasized the importance of remaining courteous on the roadways, no matter what time of year.
“Please understand ALEA Troopers who make traffic stops and enforce Alabama’s laws are attempting to save lives,” he said. “Those laws are to protect each citizen and visitor of this great state and reduce fatal tragedies. (The past year) marks the second (successive) year we have seen an overall reduction in lives lost on Alabama roadways, and we have already begun implementing plans and initiatives ensuring that trend continues in 2024.”