(ATLANTA) - The Georgia State Patrol is making final preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday travel period that begins Wednesday evening. Traffic is expected to be heavy on Georgia roads throughout the holiday weekend.
Colonel 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. “By conducting concentrated patrols or holding roadchecks across the state, troopers, deputies and officers can intercept violators before they are involved in a serious traffic crash.”
The holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 21 and ends at midnight Sunday, November 25. Last year during a similar 102-hour period, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 466 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 303 injuries and 13 fatalities. Colonel McDonough said that of the 11 fatal crashes investigated by state troopers, four of the crashes involved motorcycles and two of the traffic victims were pedestrians. Four of the fatalities traveling in passenger cars and trucks were not restrained, and two of the fatal crashes involved alcohol.
The holiday period is also part of the nationwide mobilization of Operation Click It or Ticket. Law enforcement officers across the United States are concentrating on seat belt and child restraint violations throughout the holiday period in an effort to save lives. “Seat belts save lives and in a crash keep you from being thrown from the vehicle,” Colonel McDonough said. “Please take the time to put your seat belt on and be sure that children are properly restrained as well.”
The Commissioner added that troopers will also be watching for impaired drivers during holiday patrols. He noted the Thanksgiving holiday period is also a time when impaired drivers fail to heed the warnings to choose a designated driver. “Enjoy the holiday period, but also know that if you are driving under the influence, you will go to jail and your vehicle will be impounded on the spot.”
The Georgia State Patrol reminds motorists to plan their travels carefully and allow plenty of time to reach destinations. “Anticipate traffic delays due to volume or a crash that blocks travel lanes,” Colonel McDonough said. “Also, be prepared should rain make driving conditions hazardous.”
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is also an Operation C.A.R.E. holiday period. Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, is a program of the nation’s highway patrols that promotes safe driving on interstate highways during the holiday periods. This is the 35th year of Operation C.A.R.E., sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The program’s goal is to reduce traffic deaths through high visibility enforcement and education across the United States and Canada.
The highest number of traffic deaths ever recorded for the Thanksgiving holiday period was 43 in 1969 and the lowest was four in 1949.