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Three teens among 8 traffic-related deaths over Labor Day weekend

There were eight traffic-related fatalities in the state over the Labor Day weekend, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reported.

The fatalities were in Montgomery, Marion, Marshall, Cullman, Washington, Randolph, Tuscaloosa and Lawrence counties.

ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said while the agency saw a decrease in traffic fatalities this year, the goal is to have none.

During the Labor Day weekend, local law enforcement agencies responded to two traffic crashes, one fatally injuring a 16-year-old student from Albertville High School and another fatally injuring a 15-year-old Calera High School. On Monday, ALEA Troopers investigated another fatal crash in Lawrence County involving a 16-year-old driver of Harvest.

“The loss of a loved one is always devastating, however, when the loss is a child, it impacts families in a way that changes them forever,” Taylor said. “As a parent, I cannot imagine the horror of losing a child at such a young age.

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all the families who lost loved ones over this most recent holiday weekend.”

Of the eight fatalities, four were not using seat belts and the fifth involved an all-terrain vehicle where the individual was not using restraints. The sixth fatality involved a motorcycle where the rider was wearing a helmet. In the seventh, the individual was wearing a seat belt. The eighth fatality, officers were unable to be determined if the individual was using a seat belt at the time of crash.

Department of Public Safety Director Col. Jon Archer, implored parents to take a more active role in teaching their children about safe driving.

“Every year when school begins, we see a surge of students getting their Alabama Driver and Learners Licenses,” he said. “We highly recommend that parents get involved and have a firm talk with their teenagers before they hit the road. Sadly, due to their inexperience and limited skills, teens are more prone to traffic accidents.

“We urge parents to conduct practice driving sessions with their teens and go over the rules of the road together. Remember, parents and guardians have more influence than they might realize. Set a good example and actively participate in your teen’s driving journey right from the start.”

Taylor praised the Marine Patrol Division for its efforts in keeping the waterways safe and fatality free over the holiday.

“Our Marine Patrol Division works diligently to take every opportunity to educate the public, whether it is during a patrol stop, vessel check or at a public safety event,” he said. “They have done an outstanding job educating and patrolling the waterways during the busiest weekends of the year; however, this success would not be possible without the assistance and care of each boater.”

“We hope this trend continues each year and we encourage parents to also educate their teens on water and boating safety, as many will obtain their vessel license along with their Alabama Driver License.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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