The Fourth of July holiday may be over, but Alabama DUI summer enforcement remains high, with many areas of the state targeted for enhanced drunk driving enforcement by local and state police. Madison, Marshall and Morgan counties received special attention this past week, with police using motorcycles to catch intoxicated drivers. As part of the “Take Back Our Highways” campaign begun two years ago, police say that more and more their drunk driving and speeding enforcement blitzes will be unannounced.
A drunk driving conviction can be costly in mores ways that one. As a Birmingham DUI defense lawyer, I have represented many clients caught during these enforcement crackdowns. During the summer months, law enforcement agencies all across Alabama increase their patrols looking for DUI suspects, as well as speeders. In fact, police are reminding everyone that DUI and speeding are the top two causes of traffic fatalities.
Regardless of whether driving while intoxicated or speeding is more deadly, Huntsville authorities report that fully 70 percent of the 12 fatal wrecks so far this year involved persons who were not using there seatbelts. When it comes to annual traffic fatality totals, Huntsville comes in third behind Mobile and Tuscaloosa. Mobile reported 20 deaths, while Tuscaloosa saw 14 fatalities since January 1.
It's important to note that all the troopers involved in this past weekend's DUI and speeding campaign rode motorcycles instead of patrol cars. Motorcycle patrols are becoming more common — almost 20 troopers rode motorcycles on Huntsville highways last Monday through Friday. Two troopers in the Huntsville post and two in the Decatur post now ride motorcycles, and posts across the state have been adding motorcycles to their fleets, especially since the bikes are fast and maneuverable, and can also go places that patrol cars can't when chasing drunk drivers and other traffic offenders.
Most people might not remember that when the Highway Patrol Division of the Alabama Department of Public Safety was founded, back in 1935, every trooper rode a motorcycle. Police cruisers were added to the fleet several years later. This recent back-to-basics move by police does have its drawbacks, however. According to reports, one officer in Limestone County was injured while chasing another motorcycle rider.
Troopers step up area patrols, AL.com, July 4, 2009