From staff, wire reports
Expect to see plenty of state troopers on Alabama roadways during the upcoming holiday weekend, which unofficially marks summer’s end.
In Athens, motorists can also expect to see additional Athens Police officers on the job during the weekend.
All available troopers will be part of this year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over educational and enforcement campaign to promote highway safety. The holiday travel period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, and runs through midnight Monday, Sept. 2.
Troopers will go a step further and continue their enforcement efforts through midnight Tuesday, Sept. 3, thanks to an Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs grant that will allow troopers to work additional shifts and conduct this safety campaign.
“Partnering with other law enforcement agencies is important, but it is our partnership with motorists that is key to a successful enforcement campaign and safe holiday weekend,” said Col. Hugh McCall, director of Public Safety and the state’s highest-ranking trooper.
McCall asks Alabamians to be part of this safety initiative by agreeing not to drive if they have been drinking alcohol and to insist loved ones do the same. It also is important to ensure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up each and every time.
Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said his additional officers will be working Friday through Monday evening.
“Most of the additional officers will be working afternoon, evenings and nights,” he said.
In addition to stepping up enforcement during the extended holiday, the Alabama Department of Public Safety will be part of the National Passenger Carrier Strike Force, a program from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration designed to protect the public from unsafe motor-coach operators.
Through Sept. 9, the Highway Patrol Division’s Motor Carrier Safety Unit will conduct passenger carrier driver/vehicle inspections, compliance reviews, safety audits and related enforcement activities. Troopers with the unit also want the public to be aware of a free smart-phone application, SaferBus, which allows consumers to review a motor-coach company’s safety record prior to booking a trip.