NICOLE NORRIS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
According to a press release from Alabama State Trooper only three words can be used to describe this year’s Fourth of July holiday travel period: no seat belts. Seat belts were available but not in use in seven of the eight deadly traffic crashes Alabama State Troopers are investigating from this year’s extended holiday weekend, which began at 6 p.m. Friday, June 30, and ran through midnight Tuesday, July 4. The eight fatal traffic crashes consisted of a pedestrian killed in Madison County, a 12-year-old passenger killed in St. Clair County, and six drivers killed in Baldwin, Cherokee, Escambia, Marshall, St. Clair and Talladega counties. These deaths bring this year’s Trooper-investigated traffic crash total to 328 as of July 4, which is eight more than during the same time period in 2016. This year, vehicles were equipped with seat belts for 272 of the individuals killed, but only 95 were using seat belts at the time of the crashes. In fact, more than two-thirds of those killed so far in 2017 were not using seat belts. Among the 328 fatalities were seven children ages 5 and younger, and at least two of the children were not restrained. Troopers assigned to the Marine Patrol Division also are investigating one drowning on Lewis Smith Lake, in Winston County. Nothing further is available as Troopers continue the investigations. Statewide totals will be available later, as local law enforcement agencies submit their traffic crash statistics.