Put safety 1st during holidays travel period
ATLANTA — The Georgia State Patrol is making final preparations for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel periods. The Christmas holiday travel period began at 6 p.m. Friday, and will end at midnight on Monday, Dec. 26. The New Year’s holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30 and ends Monday, Jan. 2. Both are 78-hours long.
Col. Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers will patrol during the holiday period in an effort to keep the number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities as low as possible. “We know from past experience that speed, alcohol, and failing to use seat belts are the primary contributing factors in fatal crashes,” he said. “Drivers traveling during the holidays should put safety first by wearing a seat belt, obeying the posted speed limit, avoiding distractions inside vehicles, and by being courteous to other drivers,” the commissioner added.
Last year, both travel periods were 78-hours long. Troopers investigated 443 traffic crashes over the Christmas travel period that resulted in 242 injuries and six fatalities. During the New Year’s travel period, there were 412 crashes and 235 injuries reported. In addition, troopers investigated seven fatal crashes that resulted in 10 fatalities.
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 “Operation Zero Tolerance”, a high visibility enforcement campaign, which targets impaired drivers. “Enjoy the holidays, but if you drive impaired, you will go to jail,” said the commissioner. During last year’s Christmas holiday period, 175 arrests were made for driving under the influence, and 329 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.