ATLANTA—As the holidays are quickly approaching, state troopers across Georgia are preparing for back-to-back holiday weekend patrols. Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said troopers will be keeping a close watch for impaired drivers and motorists not obeying Georgia’s traffic laws now through the beginning of the New Year.
The Christmas holiday travel period will begin on Thursday, December 24, at 6 p.m. and end at midnight on Sunday, December 27. The New Year holiday travel period will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 31, and end Sunday, January 3. Both are 78 hours long.
“We want everyone to enjoy the holiday season, but we also want motorists to be safe on our roads,” said Colonel McDonough. Drivers traveling during the holidays should make safety a priority by obeying the posted speed limit, avoiding distractions inside vehicles, and by being courteous to other drivers. Also, make sure that everyone is wearing a seatbelt and that children are properly restrained before the trip begins. Colonel McDonough added that, “Wearing your seat belt and making sure children are properly restrained are the best preventative measures people can take to increase everyone’s chances of surviving a motor vehicle crash.”
Last year, both travel periods were 102 hours long. Troopers investigated 601 traffic crashes over the Christmas travel period that resulted in 338 injuries and 14 fatalities. During the New Year’s travel period, there were 724 crashes and 318 injuries reported. Also, 10 people were killed on Georgia’s roads.
During the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel periods Georgia State Troopers will also be teaming up with law enforcement officials from across the state for “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”, a high visibility enforcement campaign which targets impaired drivers. “Enjoy the holidays, but if you drive impaired, you will go to jail,” said Colonel McDonough. During last year’s Christmas holiday period, 146 arrests were made for driving under the influence, and 349 people were arrested during the New Year’s holiday. “If you know that you will be consuming alcoholic beverages, plan ahead to have a designated driver,” he added.
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.