Troopers Call for Extra Attention to Safety Over Holiday Weekend

June 28, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEWS RELEASE

(ATLANTA)—State Troopers across Georgia are urging drivers who plan to travel during the July Fourth holiday weekend to take extra steps to make sure their trip is a safe one.  Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commander of the Georgia State Patrol, said today troopers will be emphasizing safety in the days leading up to the holiday weekend in an effort to prevent traffic deaths on Georgia roads.

            The July Fourth holiday period begins Friday, July 1 at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Monday, July 4.  During the 78-hour holiday period, traffic estimates from the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety and the Georgia State Patrol are for 2,176 traffic crashes, 963 injuries and 14 deaths across Georgia.  Last year during a 54-hour July Fourth holiday period, 12 people were killed.  There were 1,987 traffic crashes reported that resulted in 538 injuries.

            “Careful planning is the key to a safe holiday weekend,” Colonel Hitchens said.  “Make sure you get plenty of rest before driving, don’t drive if you have been consuming alcoholic beverages, check that everyone is wearing a safety belt and avoid distractions inside your vehicle that can cause a driving mistake.”  The GSP Commander said troopers normally assigned to administrative duties will be patrolling during the holiday period.

            Colonel Hitchens said troopers will be targeting drunk drivers during their holiday patrols and reminded motorists that the Georgia State Patrol is participating in Operation Zero Tolerance, a statewide crackdown on impaired drivers by Georgia law enforcement.  He said troopers will be teaming with local police officers and sheriffs’ deputies across the state for roadchecks during the holiday weekend.

            Troopers will also be participating in the Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort.  Law enforcement officers across the country and Canada work together during holiday periods to reduce the number of traffic deaths on the nation’s roads through high visibility patrols and education.

            The highest number of July Fourth holiday fatalities was in 1972 when 34 people were killed and the lowest was 2 in 1962 and again in 1984.

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For more information, contact TFC Larry Schnall or Gordy Wright at (404) 624-7597.  The holiday traffic count is available on-line at http://dps.georgia.gov during the holiday period.