Holiday Period Could Be Deadly on Georgia Roads

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   


(ATLANTA)—The long July Fourth holiday period could prove deadly on Georgia roads and Georgia State Troopers are making plans for a busy holiday period.  Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers will be joined by officers from the department’s Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police divisions for holiday patrols emphasizing traffic safety in an effort to prevent traffic deaths on Georgia roads.

            The July Fourth holiday period begins Friday, June 30 at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Tuesday, July 4.  During the 102-hour holiday period, traffic estimates from the Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol are for 23 deaths across Georgia in more than 2700 traffic crashes.  Estimates are also for more than 1300 injuries.  Last year during a 78-hour July Fourth holiday period, 24 people died in traffic crashes.  There were 2,257 traffic crashes reported that resulted in 1,183 injuries.

            “Careful planning is the key to a safe holiday weekend,” Colonel Hitchens said.  Last year, 10 of the traffic deaths involved an alcohol or drug impaired driver and 12 of those killed were not using safety equipment.  “Make sure you get plenty of rest before driving, don’t drive if you have been consuming alcoholic beverages, check that everyone is wearing a safety belt and avoid distractions inside your vehicle that can cause a driving mistake,” he said. 

            Colonel Hitchens said state officers will be targeting impaired drivers during their holiday patrols and reminded motorists that the department is participating in Operation Zero Tolerance, a statewide crackdown on impaired drivers by Georgia law enforcement.  He said troopers and motor carrier officers will be teaming with local police officers and sheriffs’ deputies across the state for roadchecks during the holiday weekend.

            Public Safety officers will also be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort.  Law enforcement officers across the country and Canada work together during holiday periods in an effort to reduce the number of traffic deaths on their roads through high visibility patrols and education.

            The highest number of July Fourth holiday fatalities was in 1972 when 34 people were killed and the lowest was 2 in 1962 and again in 1984.