(ATLANTA, GA) – As summer comes to an end and thousands of Georgians hit the road to celebrate the Labor Day holiday, the Georgia Department of Public Safety reminds motorists that Georgia State Patrol (GSP) troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance Division (MCCD) officers will conduct highly visible patrols on interstates and secondary roads, looking for unsafe behaviors that put travelers at risk.
During the 2022 Labor Day holiday travel period, Troopers investigated 472 crashes, resulting in 9 fatalities and 243 injuries. The statewide total for fatality crashes was 15. Troopers also made 324 arrests for those driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Labor Day weekend is an excellent time for families and friends to gather and celebrate the end of summer,” said Colonel Christopher Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “It is also an opportunity for motorists to continue ensuring safety is a key priority when traveling to their destinations and back home.”
To keep the number of traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities as low as possible during the 78-hour holiday travel which period begins Friday, September 1, at 6:00 p.m., and ends Monday, September 4, at 11:59 p.m., GSP and MCCD will focus on impaired drivers, speeders, distracted drivers, and seatbelt violations.
Here are some travel tips to keep you and your loved ones safe as you travel this weekend:
- Observe the posted speed limit. When you exceed the speed limit, you reduce the amount of available time needed to avoid a traffic crash.
- Observe all traffic laws and signals. Traffic laws and signals exist for your safety; failure to obey them can result in crashes that may seriously injure or kill you or others.
- Do not drive impaired. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, rideshare service, friend, or family member to help you get home safely.
- Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt. Also, properly install child safety seats. Georgia law requires children under eight-years-old should ride in either a car seat or booster seat suitable for their age, weight, and height.
- Show common courtesy to other motorists and pedestrians on the roads. Be mindful of your fellow road users, especially the most vulnerable, pedestrians and cyclists.
- Do not drive distracted. Refrain from performing any activity that may take your focus off the road, such as texting while driving. Effective July 1, 2018, the Hands-Free Georgia Act prohibits all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. The full law can be found on the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s website at www.gahighwaysafety.org.
Additional travel/safety tips:
- Be well-rested and alert.
- Use caution in work zones. There are a lot of construction projects underway on the highways and roadways.
- Do not follow other vehicles too closely.
- Prepare your vehicle for long-distance travel. Check your wipers, fluids, and service your radiator and cooling system. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.
- Plan. Before traveling, know your exit name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
- Use a map or GPS. Plan your route. Knowing the road is essential for safe driving and helps you avoid a panicked search for directions.
- Leave early and avoid risks. Leave early and allow for delays in your travel schedule. Know your limitations; do not drive when tired, upset, or physically ill.
- Do not cut in front of large trucks. Trucks are heavy and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
- Be aware of trucks’ blind spots. When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you cannot see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver cannot see you.
The Department of Public Safety will update the holiday traffic count on X (formerly Twitter) throughout the holiday weekend.