ALABAMA (WDHN) — With spring break right around the corner, The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has launched a campaign to remind citizens of the dangers of driving under the influence.

ALEA is launching its third annual Think Smart Before You Start Campaign, with this year’s top priority being impaired driving and the dangers of opioids.

Alabama Troopers and Special Agents within the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) often partner with schools and organizations, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Alabama Alcoholic Beverage and Control (ABC), to conduct educational events around the state to teach teens and young adults the dangers of impaired driving. These events include the Fatal Vision Program, Operation Save Teens, and ABC’s Underage, Under Arrest Program. Since the beginning of the current fiscal year, Agents and Troopers have held 107 community outreach events.

Driving while impaired by any substance, legal or illegal, puts all motorists on Alabama roadways at risk. While spring break, prom and other seasonal activities are around the corner, we encourage parents to take this opportunity to speak directly to their children about the dangers of opioids at parties or other social gatherings and have a real conversation about the dangers of driving while impaired. To the students, we ask that you please ‘think smart before you start this spring break’ and speak up if you see a friend or loved one preparing to drive impaired.

Colonel Jon Archer, Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety (DPS)

Substances such as alcohol, marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or any potentially impairing prescribed or over-the-counter drugs can impair driving.

During the 2023 State of the State Address, Governor Kay Ivey announced she will task ALEA and the State’s Drug Task Force with fighting dangerous opioids such as Fentanyl.

According to ALEA, Fentanyl is considered a powerful synthetic opioid that is normally used to treat severe pain related to surgery, but over the past decade has been made and distributed illegally around the country.

Along with the dangers of driving impaired, ALEA will also focus on speeding, following too closely, and distracted driving.

To make sure all drivers stay safe on the busy spring break roads, ALEA has laid out tips for those who plan to be out and about:

  • Avoid driving under the influence
    • If drivers plan of consuming alcohol, pre-plan for a designated driver or a driving service.
  • Pay close attention when around large vehicles and semi-trucks
    • Remember that large vehicles, which often have a heavy presence of interstates, have limited maneuverability, longer stopping distances, and larger blind spots.
  • Expect heavier traffic than normal
    • Adjust travel plans to accommodate busier roads.
  • Prepare your vehicle
    • When preparing for a trip, get the vehicle’s tires, brakes, exterior lights, battery, air filters, wipers, and fluid levels checked before leaving. Also, make sure to have an emergency kit prepared when traveling.
  • Remember to buckle up
    • When traveling, no matter the distance, make sure all of the occupants of the vehicle are buckled up and children are in a restraint system.
  • Don’t follow too closely on the road
    • Make sure to keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road, especially during high-traffic periods.