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Alabama’s “Take Back Our Highways” Proves Effective Once Again

Alabama’s “Take Back Our Highways” program, which was launched back in 2007, successfully lowered the number of traffic-related deaths and got 362 intoxicated drivers off of the road. The 10-day program ended on Memorial Day, May 31st. Sixteen road fatalities occurred, 11 less than last year during the same time period.

During the 10 days, 24,755 were arrested including 8,286 for speeding and 362 for DUI. It is estimated close to 300 lives have been saved since the program’s initiation. Alabama state troopers, sheriff’s departments, local police in addition to Tennessee, Mississippi, Floridian and Georgian troopers, were all involved in the effort. As well, close to another 200 officers were utilized for extra patrol duties.

All forces were on the lookout for five danger factors: driving drunk, speeding, no seatbelt, tailgating (not enough distance between drivers and their cars) and not yielding the right of way. Of the 24,755 arrests, 6,907 were seatbelt-related.

Back in 2008, Alabama had 16,337 DUI arrests. A high number, yet, nothing compared to California’s 214,828, the same year. A first DUI conviction in the state of Alabama results in a fine $600-$2,100 fine, with $100 going to the state’s Impaired Drivers Trust Fund (IDTF). There is also a mandatory 90-day suspension of all driving privileges and attendance of a DUI. Jail time is optional with the maximum sentence being one year.

For a second conviction, the Alabama fine ranges from $1,100-$5,100, again, $100 goes toward the IDTF. License revocation increases to one year. This second-time offender has to spend at least 48 hours in jail or serve 20 hours of community service, and may be jailed for up to one year. Of course, penalties for subsequent convictions become increasingly more severe.