(Media release from the Georgia Department of Public Safety):
In an effort to reduce the number of crashes on Georgia roadways, Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Troopers and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division (MCCD) Officers will be on high visibility patrols on interstates and state roads. The Christmas travel period is 78-hours long, from 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 26. The 78-hour New Year’s holiday period will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2.
“As more people travel the roadways to visit family and friends, Troopers and Officers will continue to focus on motorists who break state traffic laws and exercise bad driving habits that could potentially cause serious injuries or fatal crashes,” said Colonel Chris C. Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Last year, the 2020 Christmas holiday travel period was 78-hours long resulting in 21 fatalities from 19 fatal crashes. GSP investigated 294 crashes that resulted in 143 injuries and 10 fatal crashes resulting in 12 fatalities. Troopers and officers issued over 7,500 citations and over 9,900 warnings, with more than 180 people arrested for driving impaired.
During the 2020-21 New Year’s holiday travel period, which was 78-hours long, there were 14 fatalities from 11 fatal crashes. GSP investigated 548 crashes that resulted in 257 injuries and nine fatal crashes resulting in 12 fatalities. In addition, troopers and officers issued over 8,300 citations, over 9,900 warnings, and arrested more than 375 people for driving under the influence.
“As travel is expected to rebound to Pre-Pandemic levels and roads are expected to be more crowded than last year, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) wants everyone to enjoy this holiday season with family and friends by obeying the traffic laws, staying focused on the road, and not driving impaired,” added Colonel Wright.
The most important thing is to stay focused on where you are going and the drivers around you so that crashes do not ruin your holiday festivities. If you plan to include alcohol consumption in your holiday celebrations, make sure to plan for a sober designated driver by contacting a taxi or rideshare, a friend, or family member to help you get home safely. Make these decisions before you get into the holiday spirit.
AAA expects to respond to as many as 917,000 calls for help from the more than 100 million Americans planning to drive over the holidays. Motorists need to be prepared for slowdowns and breakdowns. AAA also states vehicles that have been driven less during the pandemic should get an inspection to check key components like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels to avoid an unnecessary breakdown.
DPS wants everyone to arrive safely to their destinations. Please review this checklist we have provided in preparation for your trip on the road.
- Before You Go: Make sure all fluids (gas, coolant, oil, windshield wiper, etc.) are to their required levels; check your tire pressure including the spare tire; and check your battery, brakes, belts, hoses, filters, and lights before getting on the road.
- Prepare A Car Emergency Kit: Make sure you know where you are going; check the weather and road conditions; make sure you have important numbers for emergency services programmed in your phone; make sure you have your phone charging cables, jumper cables, flashlights, snow chains, ice scraper, shovel, and tool kits; purchase or make sure your first aid kit is filled; include blankets, pillows, water and snacks for long trips and possible delays; and make sure you have your masks and hand sanitizer.
- While on the Road: Know the laws of the road in the states where you travel by visiting their state websites/apps; pay attention to posted speed limits; make sure everyone is properly restrained in the vehicle including booster seats for those children under 8; consider filling up your tank when it gets to half full; keep more than a car length apart between you and the vehicle in front of you; and don’t drive impaired which includes taking medication.
- Stay Safe and Alert: Be aware of aggressive drivers and/or impaired drivers and report them to 911 or *GSP while on Georgia’s roads; make sure you have plenty of gas between exits; take breaks and stretch at well-lit rest stops to avoid falling asleep at the wheel; share driving responsibilities to avoid fatigue; don’t leave valuables, including gifts visible in your vehicle; and remove any distractions that will take your attention off the road.
During the holiday period, an updated traffic fatality count will be published on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/ga_dps.