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UPDATE: State Lifts Fireworks Suspension for Western Alaska

July 2, 2019 (ANCHORAGE) – The Alaska State Fire Marshal’s Office, in consultation with the State Forester’s Office and in accordance with Alaska Administrative Code 50.025 Fire Code, has canceled the fireworks sales and use suspension in Western Alaska, including Dillingham, Bethel, McGrath, Nome, Kotzebue and surrounding communities.
Until further notice, fireworks sales and use suspensions remain in effect in the following areas:
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough
  • Kodiak Borough
  • Copper River Valley, including Glennallen south to Valdez
  • Tanana Valley north of the Alaska Range
  • Northern Panhandle, including Haines in the north, Skagway, and Juneau to the south
Updates regarding sale and use of and fireworks suspensions status will be posted during regular business hours in the Alaska State Troopers Daily Dispatches at https://dps.alaska.gov/DailyDispatch/ under the heading “AK Div of Fire and Life Safety.”
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Troopers Beef Up Patrols for July Fourth and Weekend

July 2, 2019 (STATEWIDE) – Increased trooper patrols on Alaska’s highways this Fourth of July holiday aim to send a message to motorists: Observe speed limits and posted road construction zones, drive courteously and responsibly, and reach your destination safely.

Already this year 34 people have died in 31 crashes on Alaska’s roads and highways. State Troopers Captain Tony April believes many, if not all, of those deaths could have been prevented.

“We do our part by patrolling Alaska’s highways and educating drivers,” said Capt. April, commander of “B” Detachment in Palmer. “And we want to take a moment to thank the majority of drivers who do their part to keep our highways safe by staying alert and following the law.”

Unfortunately, just one motorist taking a chance in a no-passing zone, texting while at the wheel, or driving under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering drugs can create a deadly traffic situation for themselves and others on the road. Troopers will be watching for those drivers this weekend.

“Education can be expensive,” said Capt. April. Especially when it comes in the form of a traffic citation.

Motorists traveling 10-19 mph over the speed limit face fines of $8 per mile over and four points on their driver’s licenses. Speeding 20-plus mph over speed limits draws fines of $12 per mile over and six points. And if $250 sounds expensive for driving 75 mph in a 55 mph zone, it pays to remember that fines double when violations occur in safety corridors and marked road construction zones.

Particularly expensive are convictions for driving under the influence – a Class A misdemeanor. Violators can expect mandatory jail time, court fines, SR22 insurance, and more.

“We’ll have extra troopers out there,” said Capt. April, “but we need everyone doing their part to have a safe Fourth of July.”

Funding for increased highway patrol efforts come from the National DUI High Visibility Enforcement Campaign with funds issued through the Alaska Highway Safety Office.
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Troopers Boost Presence on Waterways as Part of National Boating Safety Drive

July 1, 2019 (ANCHORAGE) – Don’t boat buzzed. That’s a safety message Alaska State Troopers want to make clear as brown shirts, blue shirts, and the U.S. Coast Guard team up July 4 – 7 to increase their presence on popular lakes and waterways around the state. The heightened patrols are part of Operation Dry Water, a national campaign to enhance recreational boating safety and prevent boating-related injuries or deaths. 

“It’s our job to keep Alaskans safe,” said Alaska Wildlife Troopers Captain Rex Leath, “so we’re going to be out there delivering our safety message and keeping a sharp lookout for people operating boats while impaired.”

Alaska’s laws prohibiting the operation of boats while intoxicated – along with associated penalties, including stiff fines and mandatory jail time – are the same as those governing driving while impaired.

In addition to discouraging people from drinking or partaking of other mind-altering substances while operating boats, patrols will also be keeping an eye out for required safety equipment.

“Boaters need to make sure they’re familiar with Alaska’s boating safety requirements,” Leath said. “We’re going to be contacting boaters and looking for life jackets and other safety equipment like flares and throw-able floatation devices.”

Historically, nine out of 10 drowning deaths in Alaska have involved people not wearing lifejackets, according to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Office of Boating Safety. While all Alaskans are encouraged to wear life jackets while on the water, persons younger than age 13 are required by law to wear lifejackets when in an open boat or on an open deck.

To learn more about state boating safety and rules, visit http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/boating/
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