Troopers Prepare for Busy Memorial Holiday Weekend

May 26, 2010

(ATLANTA) - The 78-hour Memorial Day holiday travel period begins Friday evening and the Georgia State Patrol will be watching for impaired drivers and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a traffic crash.  The holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends Memorial Day.

   Traffic estimates from the Crash Reporting Unit at the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol are for 1,972 traffic crashes, 696 injuries and 15 traffic deaths on Georgia roads during the period.  During the Memorial Day holiday weekend last year, Georgia recorded 16traffic deaths and 2,430 crashes.  The crashes resulted in 1,126 injuries.

   Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers and officers from the department's Motor Carrier Compliance Division and Capitol Police are preparing for full patrols during the peak travel times over the 78-hour holiday period.  He reminds drivers to exercise caution this holiday weekend while they travel.  "Last year, 16 people died on our roads during the holiday weekend, including three deaths that were alcohol-related," he said.  "Seven of the 14 people killed in car crashes were not wearing seat belts or other safety equipment," he said.  Two people were killed in motorcycle crashes.

   The Commissioner encourages everyone who will be traveling to always use their seat belt and take the time to make sure children are properly restrained at all times.  "This is All-American Buckle-Up Week across the country," Colonel Hitchens noted.  "State highway patrols and state police agencies are concentrating on getting the message out that seat belt use saves lives."  The Memorial Day 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 sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for state law enforcement agencies across the United States and Canada in a campaign to reduce traffic deaths through high visibility enforcement and education. 

   Troopers remind motorists to always buckle-up, remember to properly restrain children, obey the posted speed limit and don't drive if you have consumed alcohol.  Additionally, Colonel Hitchens asked motorists to be considerate of other drivers and be patient while behind the wheel.

   The highest number of traffic deaths on Georgia roads during the Memorial Day holiday weekend occurred in 2005 when 32 people were killed in holiday crashes. The lowest number occurred in 1979 and 2007 when 10 deaths were recorded.  The Crash Reporting Unit began keeping statistics on Memorial Day travel in 1969.

Here's the Holiday Day Enforcement Message from Major Mark McDonough, Commanding Officer of the Georgia State Patrol:

Visit us on the web at

Contact Information: 
DPS Public Information Office