News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Trooper presence has good effect on motorists

The state's determination to reduce the number of highway deaths on a stretch of Interstate 20 in Jefferson and St. Clair counties paid off.

Speed kills, and the stepped-up presence of state troopers along that dangerous stretch of road cut fatalities from 13 in 2002 to one last year.

Their presence isn't the only reason for fewer fatalities. The stretch of road was so bad the state widened and resurfaced it and installed median barriers.

But as a majority of motorists ignored the 70-mph speed limit, they also didn't heed the lower speed limits in the I-20 construction zones.

In came the extra troopers in 2003, to get motorists' attention. They did, and speeds dropped.

But the federal grant for the increased patrols ran out Dec. 31, and the state pulled the re-enforcements out.

The extra help returned March 10 when the Federal Highway Administration approved an additional $500,000 contract for the troopers after speeds began to creep up in their absence.

Interstate 65 from Gardendale north is rapidly becoming another major trouble spot for accidents. Perhaps Gov. Riley could apply for another grant to station more troopers along I-65 in northern Jefferson, Blount, Cullman and southern Morgan counties.

The governor should send in extra troopers now rather than wait until the stretch of interstate gets the name "Death Valley" used by motorists who regularly drive I-20.

The state troopers are back on I-20 for one reason. Their presence slows motorists.

And speed kills.

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