Holiday Traffic Estimates

November 21, 2007

STATE TROOPERS WARN OF HOLIDAY TRAVEL DANGERS

(ATLANTA)—The Georgia State Patrol is reminding drivers planning to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend to keep safety at the forefront of their travel plans.  Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said the Thanksgiving holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 21 and ends at midnight Sunday, November 25.

        Traffic estimates from the Crash Reporting Unit of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol are for 18 traffic fatalities across the state during the 102-hour holiday period, 3,285 traffic crashes and 1,299 injuries.   Last year during a similar 102-hour holiday period, traffic crashes claimed the lives of 19 people.  There were 3,510 crashes and 1,463 injuries reported.

        Colonel Hitchens said traffic will be heavy during the holiday period and reminded motorists to plan their travel well in advance, making safety a priority.  “Careful planning includes allowing plenty of time to reach your destination and anticipating travel delays,” he said.  “Be sure to include rest breaks on extended trips to avoid becoming drowsy behind the wheel.”  He also cautioned drivers to avoid distractions inside the vehicle that would divert their attention from watching the road as they drive.

        The Commissioner said Georgia State Troopers, Motor Carrier Compliance Officers, and Capitol Police Officers will be patrolling throughout the holiday weekend to remind drivers to drive safely.  He said high visibility patrols, concentrated patrols, and road checks are some of the enforcement methods troopers will use to hopefully keep the traffic experience below estimates.  “Every available trooper and officer will be on patrol Wednesday and Sunday, the heaviest travel days of the holiday period,” Colonel Hitchens said.  “Among the violations they will be watching for are impaired drivers, speeders, people who are not wearing seat belts or buckling up children, and drivers who tailgate other motorists.”  He said troopers and officers will also be assisting stranded motorists encountered during their patrols.

          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 of the nation’s state highway patrol agencies that promotes safe driving on interstate highways during the holiday periods through education and high visibility patrols to reduce the number of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths.  The program, sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is celebrating its 30th year. 

        The highest number of traffic deaths ever recorded for the Thanksgiving holiday period was 43 in 1969 and the lowest was four in 1949.  During the past five years, 84 people have been killed in traffic crashes during Thanksgiving holiday periods.  There have been 15,766 traffic crashes reported and 6,175 injuries.

        The holiday traffic count is updated throughout the holiday weekend at the Georgia Department of Public Safety web site:  http://dps.georgia.gov

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