Troop­ers pre­par­ing for July fourth hol­i­day

The Covington News - - The Second front - Staff Re­ports

The Ge­or­gia State Pa­trol is re­mind­ing mo­torists to buckle up this week­end and to plan travel ac­tiv­i­ties with safety in mind.

The 78-hour July Fourth hol­i­day travel pe­riod be­gins at 6 tonight and ends at mid­night Mon­day.

Col. Bill Hitchens, Com­mis­sioner of the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety, said troop­ers will be on pa­trol, watch­ing for im­paired driv­ers, speed­ers, and peo­ple not us­ing safety belts.

Last year, the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s Crash Re­port­ing Unit counted 1,829 traf­fic crashes, 834 in­juries and 11 traf­fic deaths dur­ing the July Fourth hol­i­day travel pe­riod.

The Ge­or­gia State Pa­trol in­ves­ti­gated 300 of the traf­fic crashes that cov­ered a Thurs­day evening through Sun­day night time pe­riod. Troop­ers re­ported nine traf­fic deaths and 209 in­juries in the crashes they in­ves­ti­gated. Two of the fa­tal crashes were al­co­hol re­lated and three of the fa­tal crash vic­tims in pas­sen­ger cars or pickup trucks were not wear­ing a safety belt.

Hitchens said troop­ers and of­fi­cers with the Depart­ment’s Mo­tor Car­rier Com­pli­ance Divi­sion will be pa­trolling dur­ing the hol­i­day week­end with a goal of keep­ing the hol­i­day traf­fic count as low as pos­si­ble.

“Our Troop­ers and MCCD Of­fi­cers will be con­cen­trat­ing on the most com­mon vi­o­la­tions iden­ti­fied as con­tribut­ing fac­tors in fa­tal traf­fic crashes,” he said.

Op­er­a­tion Zero Tol­er­ance, Ge­or­gia’s high-vis­i­bil­ity im­paired driv­ing en­force­ment pro­gram, is also con­tin­u­ing this week across Ge­or­gia in con­junc­tion with the na­tion­wide mo­bi­liza­tion on drunk driv­ing. Troop­ers and MCCD of­fi­cers are join­ing lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cers and sher­iffs’ deputies in a con­cen­trated ef­fort to keep Ge­or­gia roads as safe as pos­si­ble by re­mov­ing im­paired driv­ers from be­hind the wheel be­fore they are in­volved in a traf­fic crash. En­force­ment per­son­nel will be con­duct­ing safety checks and con­cen­trated pa­trols across the state now through the end of the hol­i­day pe­riod.

The July Fourth hol­i­day week­end is also an Op­er­a­tion C.A.R.E. week­end. Op­er­a­tion C.A.R.E., or Com­bined Ac­ci­dent Re­duc­tion Ef­fort, en­cour­ages safe driv­ing through high vis­i­bil­ity en­force­ment of traf­fic laws and pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion ef­forts. The pro­gram among state high­way pa­trols and state po­lice agen­cies is now in its 34th year and is spon­sored by the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Po­lice.

Hitchens also re­minds driv­ers who will be trans­port­ing chil­dren this week­end to make sure ev­ery­one is prop­erly re­strained. A change in Ge­or­gia’s Booster Seat Law is ef­fec­tive Fri­day, July 1 and re­quires chil­dren un­der the age of 8 to be se­cured in an ap­proved car seat or booster seat. More in­for­ma­tion on the Booster Seat Law is avail­able at gahigh­

The high­est num­ber of July Fourth hol­i­day traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties oc­curred in 1972 when 34 peo­ple were killed in traf­fic crashes. The low­est oc­curred in 1962 and 1984 when two peo­ple were killed.

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