MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Troopers within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Highway Patrol Division saw nearly a 30% decrease in overall traffic fatalities during the extended 2020 Thanksgiving travel period.

ALEA Troopers investigated only eight traffic-related deaths as compared to 11 during the same holiday travel period in 2019.

ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said Troopers are truly committed to saving lives, particularly during popular holiday travel periods such as Thanksgiving.

“Investigating three fewer traffic deaths this past weekend is certainly an achievement, however, we are continuously striving to reach the point to where we celebrate a holiday weekend without any loss of life,” Taylor said. “It is ALEA’s mission to ensure everyone makes it home alive and well. Through our campaigns, initiatives and proactive patrolling, we believe this goal will soon become a reality.”

This year’s Thanksgiving travel period began at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, and ended at midnight Sunday, Nov. 29. The fatal traffic crashes occurred in Colbert, Coosa, Jefferson, Morgan, Russell, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties.

One pedestrian and a motorcyclist were among the eight individuals killed. Of the six who were killed while traveling in vehicles equipped with seat belts, three were not wearing them at the time of the crash, ALEA reports.

During the past two major holiday travel periods, Labor Day and Thanksgiving, ALEA Troopers have seen a decrease in traffic-related deaths.

“We saw over a 60% decrease in traffic fatalities over Labor Day weekend and with nearly a 30% decrease during Thanksgiving, we are hoping to see that trend continue with more Troopers on Alabama roadways,” Secretary Taylor said.

Thanks to the continued support from Gov. Kay Ivey and the legislature, ALEA has hired 118 Troopers since Jan. 1, ALEA reports. The agency graduated one of the largest classes in recent history on Nov. 4, adding 52 new ALEA Troopers throughout the state.

“We greatly value the assistance from citizens and other motorists who work with ALEA to make our roadways safer,” Taylor said. “We ask everyone to continue to help us promote traffic safety in a joint effort to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities throughout the remainder of the holiday season. Let’s all work together toward a holiday season with zero traffic-related deaths.”