(ATLANTA)—Georgia State Troopers are urging motorists to use extra caution as they drive during the Labor Day weekend. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and Georgia State Patrol Commander, said a number of special events across the state will increase motor vehicle travel during the 78-hour holiday period.
“Labor Day is traditionally the end of the summer travel season, so traffic is usually heavy during the holiday period,” Colonel Hitchens said. “This year, the Labor Day weekend is also the season openers for high school and college football teams across the state and that will add traffic to our roads.”
The Labor Day holiday period begins at 6 p.m., Friday, September 1 and continues until midnight, Labor Day. The Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Accident Reporting Unit are jointly predicting 2,100 traffic crashes, 990 injuries and 21 traffic deaths during the holiday period. Last year, there were 1,930 crashes, 931 injuries and 17 deaths reported during a similar 78-hour period.
Colonel Hitchens said troopers, as well as officers from the Motor Carrier Compliance Division and Capitol Police, will be out in full force during the heaviest travel times of the period in an effort to reduce the number of traffic crashes across the state. He said the additional officers will increase the visibility of law enforcement on the road. “The Motor Carrier Compliance officers will be concentrating on unsafe tractor trailers during their patrols and will not hesitate to issue an out-of-service order to any commercial vehicle found to be unsafe,” Colonel Hitchens said. He said troopers will be concentrating on impaired drivers during their patrols throughout the weekend. “Troopers will not only be on the interstate, but also patrolling the secondary roads as well,” he said. “Last year, only two of the 17 traffic deaths occurred on the interstates.”
The Labor 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 of the International Association of Chiefs of Police designed to unite the law enforcement community across the United States and Canada in a campaign to reduce traffic deaths through high visibility enforcement and education. The program is now in its 29th year and this Labor Day will target impaired driving with its “Zero for 24” campaign throughout the Southeast. State law enforcement agencies in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky are participating in the impaired driving crackdown with a goal of no DUI-related traffic deaths in the Southeast over the 24 hours of Labor Day.
Colonel Hitchens reminds motorists who will be on the roads during the holiday period to plan their trips carefully by allowing ample time to reach their destination, plan for rest stops along the way, obey the posted speed limit, don’t drive if you have consumed alcohol, and make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained. Please take the time to properly restrain children – no matter whether the trip is across the state or across town.