The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) offered safety tips this Spring Break with its fourth annual “Think Smart Before You Start” campaign.

ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said that this time of year, the Driver License Division sees an increase in the issuance of driver’s licenses, and many of those are teens who plan to travel for Spring Break.

“As law enforcement, we have a responsibility to ensure our roadways and communities are safe,” Taylor said. “This is especially true during the spring season when many teens are obtaining their licenses and embarking on their first significant journey behind the wheel. We recognize the importance of instilling responsible driving behaviors from the start and encourage parents to join us in reinforcing safety by having serious discussions with their children, as well as any young or inexperienced drivers they mentor.”

Troopers say they see the consequences of having inexperienced drivers behind the wheel. Those consequences include crashes that involve speeding, failure to wear seat belts and distracted or impaired driving.

ALEA Department of Public Safety director Colonel Jonathan Archer said the same applies to roadways and waterways during Spring Break.

“We see the same issues as it relates to those planning to enjoy the state’s waterways as the temperature continues to warm up,” Archer said. “To ensure everyone has a smooth sail, let's prioritize courtesy. Be mindful of new boaters, wear your life jackets (PFDs), and if enjoying drinks, designate a sober captain. We want everyone to have a safe time enjoying Alabama’s waterways.”

ALEA offers boating classes and mock crash scenes to teach teens that their decisions can impact the rest of their lives and the lives of others.

ALEA offered the following tips for teens and their parents:

1.      Safety first! Review the law and discuss safety before your teens make plans for spring break, prom or graduation; and be sure you are aware of the route they will take, estimated arrival times, etc.

2.      Buckle Up – no matter how short the trip. Everyone traveling in a vehicle in Alabama must buckle up.

3.      Cell phones down. Avoid all distractions and focus on driving.

4.      Obey the law. Follow speed limits, avoid following too closely, do not make illegal lane changes, use the left lane for passing, and move over for emergency vehicles.

5.      No DUI! Hand over the keys if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Did you know over the counter and prescription drugs can have the same effect as alcoholic beverages?) If you feel different, you drive different.

6.      Have the conversation. Parents should take an opportunity to share with their children how the consequences of their decisions can affect not only their lives, but the lives of others.

7.      Monitor your teens if alcoholic beverages are around, particularly during prom and graduation seasons. Prior to the prom and/or graduation gatherings, remind teens not to accept rides from anyone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Discuss a Plan B should this occur, whether it is to call home for a ride or to call a ride-share service.)

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