Does Alabama Fleece Travelers?

Ed/Op By: John Turner.
The U.S. State Department issues travel advisories where the physical or financial wellbeing of citizens may be threatened. AAA also does this type of service.I travel extensively throughout the United States in my motor home as well as on my Harley. I have been personal witness to such egregious behavior in the State of Alabama that I have been prompted to write to write this segment and advisory to readers.The State of Alabama has for months now sought to fleece the travelling public by the institution of monumental speed traps, faux construction zones, and egregious enforcement of speed laws by a number of methods. Many of these methods cross the line of propriety and reasonableness. These monumental speed traps with the associated devious methods just described have been employed on all major Interstates that traverse the State of Alabama. These would be Interstates 65, 59, 20 and 85.The State of Alabama has some of the most deteriorated infrastructure (highways) in the United States. They certainly do need to spend money on repairs and rebuild. Yet there are miles upon miles upon miles of “Construction Zone” speed limits, without a spade of dirt having been turned in years. Some “Construction Zones” remain in effect even after the long delayed construction period is over.

Additionally, the State institutes speed change zones in such frequency and with such short distance as to require evasive action by any driver simply to purposefully comply with their speed zone changes on these Interstates.  A driver may unintentionally violate a speed limit simply because they were blocked from a speed change notification or were actually attempting to pay attention to the traffic on the road. The Alabama State Troopers and some Counties will employ as many as 10 cruisers at specific interchanges with the express intention of catching some unaware traveler, and especially someone from outside the State.

The actions are an obvious and grotesque abuse of police power, with the sole purpose of enhancing revenue from travelers from other States, knowing that the likelihood of those people showing up in a court to challenge the issue of citations is very low. Should your heritage, accent or tag show you are not a “local” you may be in for an even higher and perhaps illegal form of scrutiny.

The Director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Hugh McCall was asked to comment for these observations. As of this writing, the Director has made no comment.

The “Boss Hogg” mentality is alive and well in a State that is bankrupt politically and economically. Alabama seeks to try and balance its books on the backs of unsuspecting travelers, much as the “Stagecoach Robbers” did in the 19th century.

Travelers should detour around the State of Alabama. In the long run your trip will be safer. Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia all have much better infrastructure, and you WILL save money.

Ride Safe and Watch out for the thieves that now wear badges

This is the response received from Col. Hugh B. McCall, Alabama's DPS

Aug. 9, 2011Mr. Turner,I understand that you plan to issue a travel advisory tomorrow urging people to avoid Alabama highways when traveling. Our public information specialist shared with me your concerns following a recent road trip and mentioned that you would like to give me an opportunity to comment.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety’s mission is to protect and serve Alabama's residents   -- and visitors -- equally and objectively, enforce state laws and uphold the constitutions of the United States and State of Alabama. Department employees are dedicated to promoting a safe and secure environment for the public by developing and implementing programs to:

  • reduce the number and severity of crashes through enforcement and education.
  • enhance traffic safety by examining driver applicants, issuing driver licenses, maintaining driving records and removing driving privileges when necessary.
  • curtail criminal activity by initiating investigations, providing investigative assistance to other agencies and apprehending criminals.
  • educate Alabamians -- targeting school-aged children, in particular -- regarding all aspects of motor vehicle and traffic safety, drug abuse prevention, crime prevention and other public safety issues.
  • preserve life and protect property by responding to natural disasters, riots and other emergencies to provide needed services in a timely manner.
  • serve the public with courtesy, professionalism and in fairness to all.

This department enforces Alabama traffic laws as they relate to construction zones and speed limits, but it has no direct connection to either. Both construction zones and speed limit signs fall under the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).  You mentioned “fake” construction zones being used as speed traps.  We are not aware of any “fake” construction zones, but you may want to report such spots to Tony W. Harris, ALDOT’s government relations manager. His office number is 334-242-6552. His work email is harrist@dot.state.al.us.  He also could explain how locations are selected for speed limit signs.
In addition, you may want to visit www.dot.state.al.us as well as http://aldotapps.dot.state.al.us/ConstructionBulletin. You will find ongoing information about highway improvements across the state – complete with project details, length of projects, benefits, maps and cameras at certain locations. You also will find construction schedules, work zone driving tips and the expected impact on motorists.
Finally, I bring up your concern after witnessing a string of stopped vehicles along Interstate 65.   As state troopers, we are tasked with enforcing the law and promoting highway safety. When motorists break Alabama’s traffic laws, they should expect to be stopped. Our goal at Public Safety is not to raise revenue but to raise awareness and to promote safety on our highways.
Col. Hugh B. McCall
Director, Alabama Department of Public Safety

Follow up questions posed to Col. McCall

  • The Director states that it is the ALDOT that determines the speed limits and extent of construction zones. Does the Department "take advantage" of that designation even though there is no actual construction being conducted?
  • Does the Director realize that there are areas where construction has long been completed and yet the Construction Zones remain in place?
  • Are Multi-car assemblage of State Troopers at particular exits the norm in the State of Alabama?
  • If the answer to question 3 is "yes" then does that assemblage deteriorate the Department's stated missions in other parts of the State of Alabama, or is the State of Alabama so flush with Troopers as such assemblage has no effect on the described mission of the Department?
  • Who determines the enforcement tolerance and what measures are used to determine the accuracy of the instruments involved recognizing that most vehicles speedometers have an error factor that approaches 10% in some situations?
  • Is the public's voluntary compliance with speed laws of tantamount importance?
  • Do arbitrary and capricious speed limit determinations contribute to an attitude ofcontempt for such laws?
  • What do you suppose the traveling public thinks when it sees a multitude of patrol cars at an exit or median and/or with a string of "alleged violators" pulled over?
  • Does the director really expect this reporter to accept the notion that revenue enhancement for the State coffers is not an underlying motive?

Web Staff


  1. I simply want to mention I am new to blogging and site-building and really loved your blog site. Almost certainly I’m likely to bookmark your website . You definitely have fabulous well written articles. Bless you for sharing with us your blog site.

  2. I just want to say I am just very new to weblog and actually liked you’re blog site. Almost certainly I’m likely to bookmark your site . You certainly have outstanding posts. Thanks a lot for sharing with us your website.

  3. I simply want to tell you that I’m all new to weblog and truly liked your blog site. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your blog . You definitely come with fabulous article content. Thank you for sharing your website.

  4. I simply want to tell you that I’m newbie to blogging and site-building and truly liked your page. Most likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You surely have exceptional posts. Regards for revealing your web-site.

  5. I just want to mention I am very new to weblog and certainly enjoyed your web page. Probably I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You actually have outstanding articles. Thank you for sharing your webpage.

  6. I simply want to say I am just beginner to blogging and definitely enjoyed your blog. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You really come with awesome articles. Many thanks for sharing with us your web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *