(Media release from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety):
The recipe for every trip in a vehicle starts with wearing a seat belt. That is the message from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) and state and local law enforcement officers before the start of the Thanksgiving Holiday travel weekend.
State troopers, GOHS Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (H.E.A.T.) units, GOHS Regional Traffic Enforcement Networks, and local law enforcement officers across Georgia will be working to save lives and prevent crashes by enforcing speeding, DUI, hands-free, seat belt and all traffic safety laws throughout the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend that begins at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 27.
AAA is forecasting that more than 1.5 million Georgians will be traveling by vehicle during the 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the most people expected to be on the road for the holiday in more than 15 years.
“With more vehicles on the road during the busy holiday weekend, we ask everyone to buckle up on every trip and make sure everyone riding with them is also safely restrained,” Allen Poole, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said. “Taking a few seconds to buckle a seat belt can lead to a lifetime of memories because seat belts are the most important piece of safety equipment in your vehicle.”
According to preliminary information from the Georgia Department of Transportation, 26 people were killed in crashes in Georgia during the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday weekend. More than 60 percent of the persons killed in passenger vehicle crashes during the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday travel period in Georgia were not wearing seat belts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 50 percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2020 were unrestrained, and 59 percent of those killed riding in the back seat in 2020 were unrestrained.
Federal crash data shows 60 percent of young adults ages 18-34 killed in passenger vehicle crashes in the United States in 2020 were not wearing seat belts, which is one of the highest percentages in all age groups.
Crash data shows that two out of three persons killed in crashes in the United States in 2020 were male and that 55 percent of males killed in crashes in 2020 were not wearing seat belts.
GOHS and Georgia Department of Public Health Child Occupant Safety Project are asking parents, grandparents, and all child caregivers to make sure their children are safely restrained while riding in a passenger vehicle.
Georgia law requires all children under eight to ride in a child safety seat recommended for the child by the manufacturer guidelines based on the child’s height and weight and children ages 8-15 are required to wear a seat belt when riding in the front and back seats.
“Children are our most precious cargo, and it is important not only for small children to ride in an approved safety seat but also for older children to wear their seat belt no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle,” Poole said. “We also ask everyone to remember that speeding, driving distracted, and driving under the influence put children and everyone riding on the road at risk. Share the road and help prevent crashes by driving the speed limit, parking your phone, and never driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety joins AAA Georgia for their “Move Over for Me” safety campaign. The campaign reminds drivers to show courtesy and follow Georgia law by moving over if safe to do so for emergency vehicles parked on the side of the road. If a driver cannot move over, the law requires the driver to slow down when passing these vehicles.
AAA’s Tow to Go program will also offer free tows and rides for up to ten miles beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23 through 6:00 a.m. on Monday, November 28. AAA reminds everyone this service is for those who feel they are too impaired to drive and have not made any prior arrangements for a sober ride. GOHS and AAA encourage anyone planning to drink to also plan in advance for a ride with a sober driver.
GOHS, Georgia State Patrol, GOHS Traffic Enforcement Networks, and GOHS H.E.A.T. units offer these safety tips for those traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend:
- Do not try to make up time by speeding. Better to arrive late than not at all
- Allow extra time for your trip due to more vehicles on the road.
- Program navigation devices before you leave and let a passenger handle your device for any directions
- Take breaks and change drivers on long trips
- NEVER get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Let your family and friends know they can call you anytime they need a sober ride