ATLANTA—As the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are rapidly approaching, state troopers across Georgia are preparing for back-to-back holiday weekend patrols. State troopers will be conducting high visibility patrols on the heaviest travel days of the holiday periods to remind drivers to drive safely,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
The 102-hour Christmas holiday travel period begins this Friday at 6 p.m. and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 26. The 78-hour New Year’s holiday travel period gets underway at 6 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 29, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Day.
Last year during consecutive 78-hour holiday periods, the Georgia State Patrol reported 392 traffic crashes over the Christmas holiday period that injured 208 people and claimed the lives of eight people. During the New Year’s period, eight people were also killed. There were 595 crashes and 289 injuries reported.
In addition to the traffic crash investigations last year, state troopers issued 6,469 citations and 12,429 warnings during the Christmas holiday, and issued 6,400 citations and 10,905 warnings during the New Year’s holiday.
Colonel McDonough said, “Most fatal crashes during a holiday period in Georgia involve an impaired driver, speed, or the person killed not utilizing a seat belt.” In some crashes a combination of the contributing factors is found, he noted. Therefore, during the holiday travel periods, troopers will be keeping a close watch for impaired drivers, speeders, people who are not wearing seat belts or buckling up children, and aggressive drivers. “Drivers are also cautioned to avoid distractions inside the vehicle that would divert their attention from the road,” he added.
“Now through the end of the year is the time when we see a noticeable increase in the number of impaired drivers on our roads,” said Colonel McDonough. During last year’s Christmas holiday period, 190 arrests were made for driving under the influence, and 289 people were arrested during the New Year’s holiday for the same offense. Colonel McDonough advises motorists to plan holiday activities carefully. “Choose a sober designated driver before partying or, if you plan to drive, don’t drink,” he said.
During both travel periods, the Georgia State Patrol will again be teaming up with other law enforcement officials for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Operation C.A.R.E. enforcement campaigns. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is a high visibility enforcement campaign that targets impaired drivers, and Operation C.A.R.E. or Combined Accident Reduction Effort’s, goal is to reduce the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roads by balancing high visibility enforcement with educational outreach.
The holiday traffic fatality count will be updated throughout the Christmas and New Year’s travel periods on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/ga_dps.