Nearly 100 traffic citations were handed out to Georgia and Alabama drivers Sunday night, with more to come as Georgia and Alabama law enforcement gear up for Labor Day weekend.
The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety held a press conference Monday morning to announce this year's Hands Across the Border initiative — a bistate law enforcement effort aimed at curbing traffic fatalities and injuries during end of summer holidays.
Highway Safety Law Enforcement Servicer and Director Powell Harrelson said the effort is about bringing agencies across state lines together to help fight a mutual problem.
"This is the end of our 100 Days of Summer Heat effort. We kick off on Memorial Day weekend and end Labor Day weekend," Harrelson said. "This is a way for law enforcement agencies from Alabama and Georgia to come together and help reduce fatalities during a time when a lot of people are traveling."
Leading up to Labor Day, agencies in Alabama and Georgia will conduct a roadblock in a city from each state. Drivers will be checked for proper documentation, as well as sobriety and proper restraint of children.
One of the first roadblocks was conducted at the 13th Street Bridge Sunday night. Twenty-one agencies and 158 officers served 97 traffic citations to drivers passing over the Chattahoochee River. The citations included 34 child restraint violations, 19 no proof of insurance violations, eight seat belt violations and four suspended licenses.
During a press conference from Highway Safety on July 1, Director Harris Blackwood said that Georgia has the fifth highest traffic fatality rate in the nation, with three people dying in accidents per day. He also said that on any given weekend, 1 in 10 drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Holiday weeks, especially the weeks of Independence Day and Thanksgiving, increase both of these factors significantly.
Harrelson said during Monday's press conference that commuters should check their vehicle to be sure that all headlights, tail lights and turn signals are working properly. He also stressed that parents should be sure to restrain their children properly, and warned drivers to think twice before attempting to drive under the influence.
"We want everyone to have a safe weekend," Harrelson said. "That's what this effort is about."