HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Memorial Day weekend is upon us and as you head to your family outings, cookouts with friends, or even boating on the water, one message is the same from law enforcement, 'do not drive under the influence.'
AAA projects more than 37 million Americans will travel on the road this Memorial Day weekend, which is a 6% increase over last year.
And with more people going to and from these gatherings, Brent Patterson, Public Information Officer with Madison County Sheriff's Office says, "there are more alcohol related calls as a result of the different things that's going on…"
According to the National Safety Council, during the 2021 Memorial Day period, across the nation, 40% of traffic fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
This data emphasizes law enforcement's simple but important message, 'do not drink and drive.'
"We don't want to see any tragedies out here because in so many, many, many occasions and I can speak for the for the entire field of law enforcement nationwide, alcohol has devastated many, many families throughout this country," Patterson said.
He adds that if you're drinking alcohol this weekend, make sure to have a designated driver.
"Have a plan in place, know if you have a friend, if you can reach out to a friend, a rideshare program."
The Madison County Sheriff's Office encourages people to have fun this weekend but to be responsible.
"You want to have a good time with family and friends during this holiday, by all means. But don't drink and drive…don't do it," Patterson said.
He urges that, what could be a simple $25 Uber or Lyft ride, could turn into thousands of dollars in fees, all while putting others lives at risk, if you choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence.
"You're looking at about $10,000 attorney fees. You're looking at court costs, you're looking at going to diversion classes, you're looking at going to DUI school, you're looking at drug school.... It's a headache that we tell the people, you made this choice…. This is preventable. And in most cases, it could be a lot worse."
This weekend more law enforcement personnel will be out on the roads, "if you're drinking and driving, we will be looking for you. And there is a zero tolerance here in Huntsville, Madison County, for drinking and driving. And so there's no excuses," Patterson said.
If you suspect someone is driving under the influence, call your local law enforcement's non-emergency number or if it is an emergency, as always, dial 911.
"If you see something, say something."