CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

November 21, 2012

Authorities prepare for holiday traffic issues

AAA projects 43.6 million Americans on roads this season

By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — With the Thanksgiving holiday travel period set to begin Wednesday, local law enforcement agencies are preparing for an increase in the number of people on the roadway.

Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey and Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper both said they plan to have extra patrol on duty through the end of the holiday weekend Sunday.

“We’ll be out looking for speeders, texting and driving, and impaired drivers,” Rainey said.

Nationwide, AAA projects 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,which is an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled last year. The increase marks the fourth consecutive year of growing holiday travelers since 2008 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent.

“Thanksgiving hit a decade low in 2008 when only 37.8 million Americans traveled,” AAA Alabama spokesperson Clay Ingram said. “Since that year we have seen a steady increase in the number of travelers taking to the roads and skies for the holiday. Americans continue to find ways to economize their budgets so they can gather around the holiday table to carve the turkey.”

While it’s not yet known the full impact Hurricane Sandy will have on travel from the Mid-Atlantic region, Ingram added the impact for many Americans in that region would be substantial.

Compared to a year ago, the national average price of gas is expected to drop between $3.25-$3.40 a gallon by the holiday, which is similar to last year’s average of $3.32.

Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com