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Local, state officials recap holiday travel details

Data made available by local police, as well as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, show similar travel patterns for the 2018 and 2019 holiday travel periods. 

Capt. Robert Finn with the Hartselle Police Department said the 2019 holiday season was nothing out of the ordinary for HPD. 

“We investigated 19 accidents that were reported during the two-week travel period,” Finn said. “That number is on par with what we saw during the same period in 2018. We saw accidents that were mostly cosmetic with zero or very minor injuries. It was nothing out of the ordinary.” 

State troopers investigated 22 traffic fatalities during the holiday travel period, from 12:01 a.m. Dec. 20 to midnight Jan. 1 of the new year, according to a release from ALEA. 

No traffic deaths investigated by troopers occurred in Morgan County. The period saw four zero-traffic fatality days, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.  

During the 2018 travel period, state troopers investigated 21 traffic fatalities. 

“We respond to everything that happens in the city,” Finn said. “We also work the section of I-65 from mile markers 328 to 325. I’m surprised we didn’t have more to respond to on 6,5 considering some of the weather that came through during the holiday period.” 

Marcus King traveled Highway 36, Highway 31 and I-65 during the holidays and said it wasn’t the worst holiday driving experience he has had. 

“Traffic can become congested on the interstate pretty quickly,” he said. “That can be a headache, but this year wasn’t too bad. Getting into and out of Hartselle wasn’t very difficult, and driving through the county wasn’t bad at all. I saw a couple of accidents on the road, but nothing looked too bad.” 

Finn said Hartselle generally sees a steady flow of traffic, but the number of vehicles in the city fluctuates during peak travel periods. 

“Travel goes hand in hand with holidays,” he said. “We see increases during spring break and summer holidays as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas.” Finn said things slow down after the holidaysThat goes for the department all around – not just traffic. Activity tends to slow down when it’s colder and pick back up when it warms up.”