THANKSGIVING WEEKEND DEADLY ON GEORGIA ROADS
(ATLANTA) – Traffic crashes across Georgia claimed the lives of 26 people during the 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday travel period. The Georgia State Patrol counted 3,850 traffic crashes during the travel period that began Wednesday at 6 p.m. and ended Sunday night at midnight. There were 844 injuries reported in addition to the 26 fatalities.
State troopers said rainfall at the beginning and end of the holiday period was a contributing factor in the higher number of traffic crashes while Georgia’s high seat belt usage rate kept the number of injuries lower than expectations. The DOT Crash Reporting Unit and the Georgia State Patrol had estimated 3,285 crashes, 1,299 injuries and 18 fatalities over the travel period.
There were 20 fatal crashes reported during the period. They included a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 75 in Dooly County Saturday night that killed three people. The driver lost control of the vehicle when a rear tire deflated and the vehicle overturned. Two people were killed in a one-vehicle crash in Tift County Sunday morning when their vehicle left the roadway and overturned. Two teenagers were killed in a one-vehicle crash in Worth County Friday afternoon when the 19-year-old driver lost control of the vehicle, left the road and struck a utility pole. Police in Athens-Clarke County worked a crash Saturday night that resulted in two fatalities.
Troopers said initial reports from the holiday period show alcohol was a related factor in four of the 15 deaths where information has been received so far. Rainfall on Wednesday night and again during the day on Sunday made roads across the state slick and contributed to a higher than normal number of traffic crashes during the respective six-hour counting periods. The Georgia State Patrol counted 381 crashes resulting in 85 injuries between 6 p.m. and midnight Wednesday, and 582 crashes and 166 injuries between noon and 6 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
The highest number of traffic fatalities for a Thanksgiving holiday period was in 1969 when 43 people died on Georgia roads and the lowest was four in 1949. The next holiday periods are the back-to-back Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods that are each 102-hours long. The Christmas holiday period begins Friday, December 21 at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Christmas Day. Later that week, the New Year’s holiday period begins Friday, December 28 at 6 p.m. and ends New Year’s Day at midnight.