With millions of motorists on roadways during the Independence Day holiday, law enforcement officials urge everyone to celebrate responsibly as officers step up patrols to reduce crashes, injuries and traffic deaths.
“Drivers should obey the posted speed limit, avoid distractions inside vehicles and be courteous to other drivers,” said Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “Careful planning is the key to a safe holiday weekend, and remember to put safety first.”
AAA is projecting 44.2 million people will travel more than 50 miles from home during the 102-hour holiday period that started at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. From that total, AAA said 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
Last year, the shorter holiday travel period claimed nine people statewide during the 78-hour-long holiday. The Georgia State Patrol investigated 404 traffic crashes that resulted in 230 injuries and six fatalities. Three other deaths were recorded at local departments across the state. Troopers said 285 people were arrested for driving under the influence, along with 9,082 citations and 11,967 warnings issued.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said eight people died in crashes investigated by state troopers in 2016. Among the deaths were the drivers of two vehicles, two passengers, three motorcyclists and one motorcycle passenger.
As part of a nationwide effort against impaired driving, the Georgia State Patrol is taking part in Operation Zero Tolerance Campaign. Troopers will be working with local sheriff’s deputies and police officers to get impaired drivers off of the road.
“People know driving impaired is illegal, yet they still take their chances by driving,” McDonough said. “Crashes caused by impaired drivers can be prevented, if drivers will take the initiative to not drive under the influence. Troopers will not hesitate to arrest an impaired driver, and tow their vehicle.”
Through July 4, troopers also will take part in Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort. It is a nationwide initiative among state highway patrols and state police agencies where troopers and police across the nation and Canada work together to reduce the number of traffic deaths through high visibility patrols and educational outreach.
Travel Safety Tips :
Wear your seat belt and make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled.
▪ Obey the speed limit. Speeding reduces the amount of available time needed to avoid a crash.
▪ Avoid distracted driving such as texting while driving or any other activity that will take your focus off of the road.
▪ Be courteous to other drivers and stay alert to your surroundings. Show common courtesy to other motorists and pedestrians on the roads.
▪ Properly install child safety seats. Children under age 8 should be in either a car seat or booster seat suitable for their age and height.
▪ Don’t leave children and pets in hot cars. Get into the habit of regularly checking the back seat and back floor area for children and animals every time you exit the vehicle.
Source: Georgia Department of Public Safety