At least 34 people died in Georgia and Alabama during the five-day travel period for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, authorities said.
Georgia recorded 20 traffic deaths while Alabama investigated 14 fatalities between 6 p.m. Nov. 23 and midnight Sunday, authorities with the Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said. Georgia more than doubled its traffic fatalities from the period in 2015 while Alabama’s 10 deaths increased by 40 percent.
The Georgia State Patrol said at least 17 of the traffic deaths were investigated in 608 crashes with 286 injuries. The deaths occurred in Putnam, Laurens, Dougherty, Carroll, Bryan, Lamar, Coweta, Decatur, Gilmer, Grady, Warren, Ware and Oglethorpe counties. The other three traffic deaths were reported by local authorities in Floyd County, the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department and Cobb County police.
In addition to the crashes investigated, troopers arrested 273 people for driving under the influence.
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In Alabama, the 14 deaths occurred in Baldwin, Calhoun, Choctaw, Cleburne, Coosa, Cullman, Limestone, Macon, Marshall, Mobile, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties. Among the deaths were a motorcyclist using a helmet and a 12-year-old operating an ATV without a helmet.
Authorities said 10 of the deaths included drivers and two passengers. Seven of 12 victims who were traveling in vehicles equipped with seat belts used the restraints.
Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler noted the increase in Alabama traffic fatalities from last year.
“During Thanksgiving this year, our troopers investigated four more traffic deaths than during the same extended holiday weekend in 2015,” he said.
Stabler said Alabama State Troopers investigated 419 crashes that resulted in 204 injuries across the state. Troopers also assisted 200 motorists who encountered problems on the roadways.
More troopers were on duty with additional grant funding from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Department of Transportation.
Total numbers for Alabama traffic deaths are not available because the report only included trooper investigated traffic deaths.