SLE Task Force urges graduation safety

Published 11:15 am Thursday, May 16, 2013

Another school year is drawing to a close, and the member agencies of the Alabama’s Integrated State Law Enforcement Task Force remind everyone —- particularly parents and their graduating high school seniors and other teens — to add safety to any celebration plans at home, at a nearby venue or at the beach or other vacation destinations.

SLE Task Force officers will work together to create a highly visible enforcement presence and to promote public safety through Memorial Day Weekend and the summer. They are intent on preventing crimes and violations that lead to deaths and injuries. All available personnel will combine forces with county and municipal agencies in Alabama to conduct various details designed to enhance public safety and to enforce all laws, including traffic, boating and alcoholic beverage laws.

It is especially important this time of year to caution graduating high school seniors and other teens of the dangers associated with alcohol and drugs. Not only is it dangerous, but it is against the law to use drugs and for anyone younger than 21 to consume alcoholic beverages.

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SLE Task Force officers urge everyone to bring safety to the fore this summer by:

•Restricting access and closely monitoring teens to prevent underage use of alcoholic beverages.

•Avoiding driving or boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

•Buckling up — no matter how short the trip — on the road or on the water. Occupants of all ages should use seat belts or child restraints when traveling by motor vehicles. On waterways, all occupants of water vessels should use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

•Focusing on driving or boating and avoiding such distractions as texting and talking on cell phones.

•Slowing down in construction zones along the way. Drivers pose the greatest danger in work zone crashes by not paying attention, speeding and driving while impaired or distracted.

•Being careful when crossing highway-railway crossings. Motorists should never drive around lowered crossing gates; and pedestrians and cyclists should never trespass or play around railroad tracks.

•Reporting anything suspicious (at school, public venues, etc.) to the Alabama Fusion Center’s tip line, 866.229.6220.

•Making hotel/motel stay safe. Choose establishments that are protected by both smoke alarms and fire sprinkler systems. Once in rooms, guests should review escape plans with the entire party. If alarms sound, leave rooms right away, using the stairs and avoiding elevators.

•Calling before you dig in the yard or other property to prevent gas pipeline accidents. The Alabama Public Service Commission encourages everyone to call 811 a few days before any type of excavation project regardless of depth or familiarity of property.

•Taking care when using grills or building outdoor fires. Never leave them unattended, and place them a safe distance from everyone, especially children and pets. It’s a good idea to designate a 3-foot “safe zone” around the grill or fire.

•Paying attention to weather conditions, particularly when there is thunder and lightning. Storms can come up quickly, especially in warm weather, so keep an eye to the sky. Watch for temperature changes, shifts in wind patterns and changes in cloud formations.