Check points part of holiday
Staff Reports, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle Police Department and Alabama State Troopers will be on the roads New Year's Eve with a goal of getting drunk drivers off the streets.
HPD will be conducting New Year's Eve safety checkpoints at Highway 31 and Metco Street and Highway 31 and Longhorn Pass.
Officers are asking that all drivers buckle their seatbelts, have a valid driver's license and proof of insurance.
State Troopers will be on the roads as well, hoping to reduce the number of New Year holiday accidents. Last year, six people died on Alabama roadways during the New Year's travel period. Officials estimate that number could climb to 13 this year.
The New Year's holiday period is designated from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 through midnight on Jan. 4, 2004.
Last year, three of the deaths were on rural roads and three in urban areas. At least one of the deaths involved alcohol and five of the victims were not wearing safety belts.
Troopers will be working around the clock to enforce traffic laws in heavily traveled areas. The extra work will be funded by a federal grant used to pay trooper overtime, according to Col. W.M. Coppage, Alabama Department of Public Safety director.
Coppage said his department would use all its resources to make the holidays safer. The biggest responsibility lies with the drivers themselves, however.
"The holidays are a time of joy and celebration," Coppage said. "I strongly encourage those whose holiday celebrations include alcohol to designate a non-drinking driver or make other plans to avoid the tragic consequences of drunken driving."