Update: 26 die on Georgia Roads over July Fourth travel, including a motorcyclist in Gwinnett

Press release from Georgia Department of Public Safety

Update: 7 a.m. on July 8, 2019

Traffic crashes across Georgia during the 102-hour July Fourth holiday travel period resulted in 26 traffic deaths. It began at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. Last year the period was only 30 hours long and 2 people died.

According to Georgia State Patrol, troopers investigated 513 traffic crashes resulting in 307 injuries, 17 fatalities, 422 people arrested for driving under the influence and 12,554 citations and 16,846 warnings issued.

Included in the fatalities was a 27-year-old Lawrenceville man who died in a motorcycle wreck on Dickens Road in unincoroporated Lilburn. The accident happened near Hopkins Elementary School at about 9 p.m. Sunday night. Gwinnett County Police Department report that, based on the preliminary investigation, Josa Then-Valenzuela was traveling westbound on Dickens Road on a motorcycle, passing in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed, when he crossed into oncoming traffic. He was ejected when he hit a blue Toyota Rav4 head-on. The driver of the Rav4 was turning left off Pepperwood Trail onto Dickens Road when the collission occurred. Neither the driver nor the passenger in the vehicle were injured, but the motorcyclist died of his injures. Both vehicles have been impounded to Gwinnett County Police Department Headquarters for the investigation.

Update: 7 p.m. on July 7, 2019

In what has turned out to be a tragic long weekend on Georgia roads, the traffic fatalities at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, 2019, stood at 24, including the deaths of seven people in a five-vehicle accident on I-85 in Franklin County on Saturday afternoon. The 102-hour July Fourth weekend travel period ends at midnight tonight.

Update: 7 a.m. on July 5, 2019

Just 36 hours into the 102-hour travel weekend on Georgia roads and the traffic fatalities reported by the Georgia State Patrol have already reached nine, one worked by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

Update: At 4 p.m. on July 4, 2019.

Last year, the travel period was only 30 hours long and during that time 2 fatalities were reported by the Georgia State Patrol. This year, the period began at 6 p.m. on July 3 and will last until midnight on Sunday, July 7, 2019 – a full 102 hours. However, within 24 hours, the fatalities in 2019 had already equaled last year with two fatalities reported – one in Forsyth worked by GSP Post 44 and another worked by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office. GSP are asking motorists to drive safe and slow down.

Initial Story

ATLANTA – The Georgia State Patrol and Motor Carrier Compliance Division encourage everyone to celebrate the Independence Day holiday responsibly.  This year, the holiday travel period is 102 hours long.  It will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 7. This year marks the one year anniversary of the Georgia Hands-Free Law which became effective July 1, 2018.Last year, the holiday period was only 30 hours long.  During the holiday period, State troopers investigated 150 traffic crashes resulting in 90 injuries and two fatalities. Additionally, troopers issued 6,367 citations (957 seat belts and 150 child restraints), 8,465 warnings, and made 123 DUI arrests.

“With a record number of travelers hitting the roadways this holiday, we want everyone to pack a load of patience for traffic delays and to put safety first by following the posted speed limit, not driving while impaired, making sure all occupants are restrained, and keeping your hands off of your cell phones,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.  “State troopers and officers will be on high visibility patrols during the 102-hour holiday period in an effort to keep the number of traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities at a minimum,” he added.

This holiday period, the Georgia State Patrol is participating in the Operation Zero Tolerance campaign, a nationwide mobilization against impaired driving, as well as the 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic) campaign. Troopers will be working alongside sheriff’s deputies and police officers to apprehend impaired drivers and crack down on aggressive speeders and distracted drivers.
“Crashes caused by impaired drivers can be prevented.  Drivers must take the initiative to plan ahead for their holiday activities by designating a sober driver and not driving impaired,” said Colonel McDonough.  “State Troopers and Officers will not hesitate to arrest an impaired or aggressive driver,” he added.

According to AAA, the worst day to travel on the roadways in Atlanta is Friday, July 5, and the worst time for travel is between 5 – 7 p.m.

The holiday traffic count will be updated throughout the holiday period on the Georgia Department of Public Safety Twitter page: https://twitter.com/ga_dps.

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