Law enforcement will be out in force on the roads this holiday season and the Georgia State Patrol is warning drivers to be careful as they travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The holiday period begins Wednesday, Nov. 24 and ends Sunday, Nov. 28 at midnight. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said troopers and officers will be watching for impaired drivers, occupant protection violations, and speed violations on the state’s roads.
He also reminded motorists to plan their travels carefully and allow plenty of time to reach destinations. “Anticipate travel delays,” Hitchens said, “and be prepared should rain make driving conditions hazardous.”
Last year, 13 people died in traffic crashes on Georgia roads during the 102-hour holiday period. The Georgia Department of Transportation reports 2,348 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 888 injuries. None of the fatal crashes involved alcohol or drugs, four victims were not wearing a seat belt (use was not known in seven of the crashes), and one crash resulted in two or more fatalities, according to the Crash Reporting Unit at the GDOT.
During the past five years, 95 people have been killed in traffic crashes in Georgia during the Thanksgiving holiday period. There have been 15,490 traffic crashes reported that have resulted in 6,225 injuries.
AAA projected the number of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday will increase 11.4 percent from 2009, with approximately 42.2 million travelers taking a trip at least 50 miles away from home. Last year, 37.9 million Americans traveled during the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is also an Operation C.A.R.E. holiday period. Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort is a program sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police that promotes safe driving on interstate highways during the holiday periods.
Troopers and officers are also concentrating their efforts on seat belt and child restraint violations as part of Operation Click It or Ticket. The nationwide mobilization began last week and continues through the holiday period with law enforcement officers across the country working to save lives through enforcement.
Motorists are reminded of Georgia’s “Steer It and Clear It” law that requires drivers involved in crashes with no apparent serious personal injury or death to move the vehicles out of the traffic lanes if the vehicles are drivable.