Fatality count on Georgia roads over Thanksgiving was 23, including a juvenile from Rockdale

press release from the georgia department of safety

Juvenile running from LE in stolen vehicle was the Rockdale County fatality


By 6 a.m. on Monday, the fatality count on Georgia roads over the 2023 Thanksgiving weekend travel period was 23, five more than the same period last year. Included in this year’s count was one fatality worked by Georgia State Patrol Post 46 in Monroe. The post covers Walton, Rockdale and Newton counties.

“The fatality was from a five vehicle crash that occurred in Rockdale County. The crash was the result of a juvenile driving a stolen vehicle while actively fleeing from a State Trooper who was trying to pull him over,” GSP Trooper Sgt. Christopher Ayers said. “The juvenile passed in a no passing zone, causing a chain reaction that led to him being killed and multiple others being seriously injured.”

Ayers said that due to the fact he’s a juvenile his name will not be released by the Georgia Department of Public Safety. 


By 6 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, the fatality count on Georgia roads over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period had already surpassed the count in 2022. In 2023, with another 18 hours still to go in the Thanksgiving holiday travel, 21 people had died on Georgia roads. Last year, at the end of the travel period, 18 people had died on Georgia roads. The 102-hour travel period ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov, 26.

(ATLANTA, GA) – The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division (MCCD) will be out in full force and advise motorists to drive safely and have patience this Thanksgiving holiday. The 102-hour holiday travel period begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 22, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, November 26. 

The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, often resulting in heavy traffic on Georgia’s roadways.  Commissioner Hitchens is asking motorists to do a few things during their holiday travels to help them arrive safely at their destination.  “Do a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, obey the posted speed limit, wear your seatbelt, do not drive impaired or distracted and please be patient as you travel.”  

AAA predicts 55.4 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, a 2.3% increase over 2022.  This is the third-highest Thanksgiving forecast since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.  Most travelers will drive to their destinations, with 49.13 million people expected to travel by car, a 1.7% increase over 2022.  

“The Georgia Department of Public Safety will show an increased focus on patrolling the interstates and highways this Thanksgiving season to deter unsafe driving behaviors and reduce crashes.  Administrative duties will be restricted during that time to direct increased personnel to those efforts.  Remember, Thanksgiving is meant to be spent with family and friends, and you can only do that by arriving safely.  However, if you do experience an emergency during your travels and need immediate assistance, please dial *GSP (*477).” added Colonel Hitchens. 

During the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday period, Troopers investigated 749 crashes, resulting in 401 injuries and 18 fatalities statewide. In addition to the crash investigations, 390 people were arrested for driving under the influence. Troopers and Officers issued 11,776 citations and 12,976 warnings.

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 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 get you home safely.
  • Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt. Also, properly install child safety seats. Georgia law requires children under the age of eight to be 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 motorists, especially the most vulnerable, pedestrians and cyclists. Stop at all stop signs, traffic signals and crosswalks, and check your blind spots. 
  • Pay attention to large trucks and buses. Leave extra space when merging in front of these large vehicles, anticipate wide turns, stay a safe distance back, signal clearly when merging in front of, or passing, and be patient.
  • Do not drive distracted. Refrain from performing any activity that may take your focus off the road, such as texting while driving. On July 1, 2018, the Hands-Free Georgia Act became effective. It prohibits all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.  A link to the complete law can be found on the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website at www.gahighwaysafety.org.

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.

In addition to safe driving practices, ensure your vehicle is prepared for holiday travel:

  • Are your lights shining bright? Make sure all the lights are working properly, including high and low beams, flashers, directional signals, brake lights, and the license plate light.
  • Wipe away your troubles. Now is a good time to replace your wiper blades. Many auto parts stores will install for free while you wait.
  • Windshield washer fluid. Road trips can require a lot of washer fluid to keep the windshield clear. Keep a gallon in the trunk, just in case!
  • Keep the engine in top condition. Check the radiator and heater hoses for cracks and leaks. Generally, the antifreeze mix should be flushed at least every two years. 
  • Check the battery. All batteries lose strength as they age, so don’t take any chances. Many auto-parts stores or repair shops will check your battery for free.
  • Pump up the pressure. Underinflated tires cause unsafe handling and braking. Check the pressure in all your tires once a month and before any trip. 
  • Be prepared. Have a few basics along in case you do have trouble, including a charger for your cell phone, flashlight, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, warning light or flares, jumper cables, and the proper clothing 

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