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Ensuring safety during the Memorial Day weekend
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 This Memorial Day weekend, as Newton County residents celebrate and kick off the summer season, public safety officials will be working around the clock to make sure they do it safely.

 Georgia State Patrol Troopers are hoping to match last year's record low of 10 traffic fatalities in the state with an increased presence and coordination with local law enforcement, according to GSP spokesperson Senior Trooper Larry Schnall.

 "Across state, we'll be partnering up with local agencies at sobriety checkpoints and road checks to create a high visibility presence," Schnall said.

 The Patrol projects there to be 2,300 traffic accidents throughout the state, he said.

 AAA predicts there will be about 1.08 million travelers in Georgia this weekend. Rising gas prices don't seem to have affected travel plans greatly according to an AAA survey.

 In the southeast region, the number of people intending to travel by car is only 0.7 percent lower than last year, and only 0.9 percent lower nationally.

 Newton County Sheriff's Deputies and Covington Police will also be out in force and more visible on the roads, according to spokespersons from both agencies, along with the NCSO's eight-man boat division will also be patrolling Lake Jackson.

 "Usually, as long as people keep their drinking under control, it shouldn't be too bad," said CPD spokesperson Lt. Wendell Wagstaff.

 "Be responsible," advised NCSO spokesperson Lt. Mark Mitchell. "You're taking the life of other people driving on the road in your hands."

 Memorial Day is always a painful remainder for Eva Smith, who lost her husband of 13 years in 1992 on Memorial Day in a car accident with a drunk driver.

 Smith, the Newton County MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Coordinator, will be working to prevent similar tragedies from happening to other people.

 Her husband and son had been heading home on the evening of Memorial Day in 1992 from a church function when a drunk driver, a repeat offender, collided with them head-on in McDonough on Ga. Highway 20.

 "People don't realize what it can do to a family until they get the phone call that I got. There's no way to describe it," Smith said.

 This weekend, along with spending time with her family, Smith will be handing out ribbons to county residents as well as participating in road checks.

 For drivers who feel like they've had a bit too much, they can call the AAA's "Tow to Go" program, which offers free car towing and transportation for both AAA members and non-members. For more information, call 1-800-AAA-HELP.

For more information MADD, call Eva Smith at