Update: 2 die on Georgia roads during New Year’s holiday travel

Update

Traffic crashes across Georgia during the New Year’s holiday travel period resulted in two traffic deaths according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. This year, the holiday travel period was only 30-hours long. It began at 6 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 31, and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Weds., Jan. 1.

Statewide, Georgia State Troopers investigated 103 traffic crashes that resulted in 39 injuries and one fatality. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, State troopers and MCCD officers arrested 160 people for driving under the influence, while 5,083 citations and 7,275 warnings were issued. Marietta Police Department investigated the second New Year’s holiday travel fatality. It is difficult to compare this to the last New Year’s travel period in which seven people lost their lives as it was 102 hours long.

Update

Georgia State Patrol reported that by 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2020, one person had died on Georgia Road since the New Year’s holiday travel period began at 6 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2019. The fatality was worked by the GSP post in Brunswick. The holiday travel period monitoring ends at 11:59 p.m. Jan. 1.

Initial story

Coming off a deadly Christmas travel period on Georgia roads despite a much shorter monitoring period, Georgia State Patrol troopers are again gearing up for a busy New Year’s travel.

According to AAA, “More Americans than ever on record – 115.6 million – will travel this holiday season, from Saturday, Dec. 21 through Wednesday, Jan. 1. That is the most in nearly 20 years since AAA began tracking in 2000, and represents an increase of 3.9% over last year, or 4.3 million more people packing up their sleighs for a holiday getaway.”

By midnight on Dec. 26, the end of the 2019 Christmas Holiday Travel period, 14 people had died on Georgia roads. This equals the number who died on Georgia roads during the 2018 travel period despite it being less than half the time of last year’s travel period. Last year, with a Christmas Holiday travel period of 126-hours long, GSP investigated 700 crashes that resulted in 333 injuries and 14 fatalities. Troopers and officers issued a total of 9,978 citations and 15,888 warnings, with 285 people arrested for driving impaired.

This year statewide, Georgia State Troopers investigated 207 traffic crashes that resulted in 102 injuries and eight fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, troopers and officers of the Department of Public Safety arrested 124 people for driving under the influence, while 5,333 citations and 8,222 warnings were issued. Another six fatalities were investigated by other Georgia agencies.

This year, the 30-hour New Year’s holiday period will begin at 6 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 31, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 1, 2020.

During the 2018 New Year’s holiday travel period, which was 102-hours long, GSP worked 550 wrecks that resulted in 223 injuries and seven fatalities. In addition, troopers and officers issued 6,971 citations, 11,339 warnings, and arrested 368 people for driving under the influence.

With so many motorists on the roads, troopers and officers caution drivers to stay focused and avoid becoming a distracted driver. There are several distractions such as changing the radio station, looking at the GPS for directions, talking to the passengers, or even looking at Christmas decorations. The most important thing is to stay focused on where you are going and the drivers around you so that crashes don’t ruin your festivities.

Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said, “It is the primary focus of State troopers and officers to keep a vigilant eye out for motorists breaking state traffic laws and exercising bad driving habits that could potentially cause serious injuries or fatal crashes.”

It is also important to plan for a sober designated driver if alcohol consumption will be part of your holiday celebrations. If you do not have a designated driver, call a taxi, rideshare, a friend, or family member to help you get home safely.  Make these decisions before you get into the holiday spirit.

“This is a festive time of the year! We want everyone to drive sober, stay focused, obey the laws and enjoy this holiday season with family and friends,” added the commissioner.

During the holiday period, an updated traffic fatality count will be published on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/ga_dps.

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