Troopers and MCCD Officers Prepare for Thanksgiving Holiday Period



(ATLANTA)—Facing the heaviest traveled and longest holiday period of the year, the Georgia Department of Public Safety is making plans for stepped up enforcement during the 102-hour Thanksgiving travel period.  The holiday period begins Wednesday, November 23 at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Sunday, November 27.

            Traffic estimates issued jointly by the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol are for 2,798 traffic crashes, 1,238 injuries and 13 deaths on Georgia roads during the holiday period.  Last year in a similar 102-hour holiday period, 9 people died in traffic crashes across the state.  There were 3,115 crashes that resulted in 1,233 injuries.

            Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said the lack of seat belt use was a major contributing factor in two-thirds of the traffic deaths during last year’s holiday period.  “Six of those killed were not wearing a seat belt or other safety equipment,” he said.  “Two of the deaths involved an impaired driver.” 

            Colonel Hitchens said Georgia State Troopers will be patrolling throughout the state during the holiday period and will be joined by officers of the Motor Carrier Compliance Division.  The troopers and officers will join with sheriffs’ deputies and police officers in a concentrated enforcement effort for people who do not wear their seat belt or properly restrain children.  The Georgia State Patrol 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 alcoholic beverages, and make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained.

            “Now through the end of the year is the period when we see a noticeable increase in the number of impaired drivers on our roads,” Colonel Hitchens said.  “Troopers will be keeping a sharp eye out for impaired drivers.”  The commissioner cautioned motorists to remain alert for impaired drivers on the state’s highways.  “The Thanksgiving holiday period traditionally begins the Christmas party season and the potential to encounter an impaired driver on the roads,” he said.  “When making your party plans, be sure to include a designated driver.”       

             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 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 28th 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.