Hol­i­day travel could be deadly

The Covington News - - Local news -

AT­LANTA — Im­paired driv­ing and the lack of seat belt use top the list of vi­o­la­tions Ge­or­gia State Troop­ers will be tar­get­ing dur­ing the up­com­ing Christ­mas hol­i­day travel pe­riod. The 102-hour travel pe­riod be­gan Christ­mas Eve at 6 p.m. and ends at mid­night Sun­day.

The Ge­or­gia State Pa­trol and the Crash Re­port­ing Unit of the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety are es­ti­mat­ing as many as 19 traf­fic deaths on Ge­or­gia roads dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod. Ad­di­tion­ally, the es­ti­mates are for 2,945 traf­fic crashes and 1,494 in­juries across the state. Last year dur­ing the 102-hour Christ­mas hol­i­day travel pe­riod, Ge­or­gia recorded 18 traf­fic deaths, 3,039 crashes, and 1,158 in­juries.

Colonel

Bill

Hitchens, Com­mis­sioner of the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety, said Wed­nes­day Ge­or­gia State Troop­ers and of­fi­cers from the DPS Mo­tor Car­rier Com­pli­ance and Capi­tol Po­lice di­vi­sions will be closely watch­ing for im­paired driv­ers dur­ing hol­i­day pa­trols. He noted troop­ers and of­fi­cers will be con­duct­ing con­cen­trated pa­trols on secondary roads and the in­ter­states. “In ad­di­tion, so­bri­ety check­points will also be es­tab­lished across the state dur­ing the hol­i­day week­end,” Colonel Hitchens said.

The Com­mis­sioner noted that eight of the 18 traf­fic deaths last year in­volved an al­co­hol or drug im­paired driver, and six of the 14 fatal­i­ties in passenger cars were not wear­ing seat belts. “The traf­fic crash data from the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion bears out the rea­sons troop­ers and of­fi­cers will be pa­trolling through­out the hol­i­day pe­riod,” he said. “We want every­one to en­joy the hol­i­day sea­son while mak­ing traf­fic safety a pri­or­ity as they travel.”

Colonel Hitchens re­minds driv­ers to al­ways wear their seat belt, make sure chil­dren are prop­erly re­strained, main­tain a safe dis­tance from the ve­hi­cle ahead of you, and don’t op­er­ate a mo­tor ve­hi­cle if you have con­sumed al­co­holic bev­er­ages. “Re­mem­ber also, you can help law en­force­ment of­fi­cers keep our roads safe by re­port­ing sus­pected im­paired driv­ers to the near­est Ge­or­gia State Pa­trol post by call­ing Star G-S-P (*477) on your cell phone,” he said.

The high­est num­ber of traf­fic deaths dur­ing the Christ­mas hol­i­day travel pe­riod occurred in 1971 when 36 peo­ple were killed, and the low­est was in 1982 and 2002 when five fatal­i­ties were recorded.

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