ALEA issues Labor Day weekend safety tips

Published 12:49 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

As summer ends and Alabamians head into the Labor Day weekend, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) recommends observing safety – on the roadways, in the water, and in the hot Alabama sun.

Secretary of Law Enforcement Hal Taylor acknowledged the importance the holiday holds for many who take time to enjoy Alabama’s beautiful waterways and recommends travelers plan ahead for a safe weekend.

“We fully understand this is an exciting weekend in which many will be traveling or enjoying the state’s scenic waterways,” Taylor said. “As we anticipate a high volume of traffic on both our roadways and waterways, we want to remind everyone to plan ahead, allow yourself ample time to reach your destination and exercise considerate driving behavior towards other drivers and boaters. A little courtesy can go a long way when driving on a busy road or operating a vessel in a crowded area. Part of ALEA’s winning strategy this season is to share educational opportunities, conduct high-visibility details and provide quality service, as well as protection, ensuring everyone returns home safely to their loved ones.” 

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The holiday weekend travel period begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and will end at midnight on Monday. ALEA’s Highway Patrol Division has already kicked off the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which started Wednesday, Aug. 16 and runs through Monday. 

The effort is part of a national initiative which includes high-visibility enforcement details and numerous driver license checkpoints across the state. The agency is also joining law enforcement partners across the southeast to participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “No DUI Friday” with a focus toward cutting back on impaired driving.  

“We want everyone to understand that our top priority is to keep citizens safe by enforcing the state’s laws,” said Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), Colonel Jon Archer. “The Drive Sober and No DUI Friday campaign is an awareness effort to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and is a senseless decision that can dramatically change or even take a life in the blink of an eye. We are asking everyone to be responsible and plan accordingly, especially if you will be consuming alcoholic beverages, we need your help protecting our communities.” 

Along with monitoring holiday and gameday traffic, ALEA Troopers are on alert to conditions related to Hurricane Idalia, preparing for any evacuees who may seek refuge in Alabama.  

“The storm is forecasted to hit the Big Bend of Florida on Wednesday; however, we are factoring in that those who evacuate to Alabama may be on the roadways returning home over the extended holiday weekend. We will have all available Troopers working throughout the week and Labor Day holiday to assist our citizens as well as those who travel from Florida,” said ALEA Highway Patrol Chief Will Wright.  

While conditions along Alabama’s gulf coast should remain clear, ALEA reminds citizens and visitors that a small change in the weather can quickly change the rip current forecast and encourages visitors to Alabama beaches to check daily weather and surf conditions from a trusted source. 

This weekend, the Agency will also once again utilize an aircraft to conduct beach safety flights and patrol in areas where lifeguards are not available. All available Troopers within ALEA’s Marine Patrol Division will also be ready to assist not only those boating near the coast but across all of our state’s major waterways.  

“No matter what time of year it is, everyone should have a safety checklist to ensure everything on the vessel is in proper working order such as navigation lights, fire extinguishers and they should have Coast Guard-approved PFDs that fit properly,” said ALEA Marine Patrol Chief Steve Thompson. “Know the navigation rules of the water, never operate a vessel while impaired and please be courteous. This weekend there will be a wide variety of aquatic activities from water sports and paddle boats to fishermen and swimmers. Let’s all do our part and keep the waterways safe for all to enjoy.”  

The agency is also partnering with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to help inform the public about water quality and fish advisories in local areas. Marine Patrol Division Troopers will assist in distributing cards that feature a QR code which will take users to the water quality site on ADEM’s website when scanned. There, they will find links to fish consumption advisories listed by location, maps that note any recent sewer spill or accidental discharge, as well as maps of beach monitoring sites that provide the latest water quality testing results.  

“We are delighted and grateful to partner with ALEA in providing this important water quality information to the public to help safeguard their health,” said ADEM Director Lance LeFleur. “We want everyone using or planning to use the state’s beaches or waterways, whether fishing, swimming or boating, to be able to get the latest updates on fish advisories, beach monitoring, wastewater discharges and sewer spills or overflows. That information is easily accessible to anyone with a smart device.”