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Posted: May 28, 2011 1:23 p.m.

State patrol tips for holiday weekend

Plan carefully, use caution, and buckle up are the recommendations from the Georgia State Patrol for a safe Memorial Day holiday weekend. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said the 78-hour Memorial Day holiday weekend ends at midnight May 30. Hitchens said traffic will be heavy throughout the weekend as graduation ceremonies, festivals and vacation travel will add to normal weekend traffic. "We anticipate a busy weekend on Georgia roads," he said.

During the 2010 Memorial Day weekend, the Georgia Department of Transportation's Crash Reporting Unit reports 2,143 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 945 injuries and five fatalities. "The number of traffic deaths during the holiday weekend last year was the lowest ever recorded for Memorial Day weekend," Hitchens said. The Georgia DOT reports one of the traffic deaths was a pedestrian and one was a motorcyclist.

Hitchens said troopers will not only be patrolling the interstates but the secondary roads as well. "Last year, there were no interstate fatalities recorded during the holiday period, but two of the deaths were on state highways and three were on county roads or city streets."

The commissioner encourages everyone who will be traveling to always use their safety belt and take the time to make sure children are properly restrained. "This is All-American Buckle-Up Week across the country and state highway patrols and state police agencies are concentrating on getting the message out that safety belt use saves lives," he said.

Operation Click It or Ticket is also underway across the nation. Law enforcement officers are working together by conducting road checks and concentrated patrols to enforce occupant protection laws.

"We want everyone to enjoy the holiday weekend and remember its purpose, but please take the necessary precautions to avoid serious injury or death while you travel. Always buckle-up, remember to properly restrain children, obey the posted speed limit, and don't drive if you have consumed alcohol," Hitchens said.

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