Alabama state troopers handled more than twice as many wrecks as normal during the snow and ice storm that paralyzed parts of the state last week.
Troopers released statistics Tuesday showing officers investigated a total of 731 accidents from Tuesday through Friday. Roads were either frozen over or blocked with abandoned vehicles across a wide area during those days.
Troopers on average would handle about 336 wrecks over a four-day period.
Traffic fatalities on Alabama highways increased significantly during the long Thanksgiving holiday period.
Alabama State Troopers report they investigated eight crashes with 11 fatalities. That compared with five deaths during the same holiday period last year.
The fatal crashes occurred in Russell, Madison, Crenshaw, Walker, Autauga, Barbour, Pickens and Talladega counties. Troopers said preliminary investigations indicate alcohol was a factor in at least three deadly crashes, and seven of the 11 victims were not using seat belts.
State troopers and local law enforcement agencies are stepping up patrols during the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Sixty-nine police and sheriff's departments are joining with the state troopers to target drunken drivers and other violators by conducting sobriety checkpoints and additional patrols. Funding from the extra patrols comes from grants awarded by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the state Department of Transportation.
A spokesman says Alabama state troopers were caught off guard by last week's snow, which caused an overnight traffic jam on Interstate 65.
Trooper spokesman Curtis Summerville says road conditions worsened faster than officials expected once the snow began coming down.
Summerville tells The Decatur Daily (http://bit.ly/1416Bez ) authorities are looking at ways to do things better in case of a repeat. He says possibilities include using billboard or twitter to inform motorists of blocked roads.