Update: Fatality rate on Georgia roads this Thanksgiving almost double last year’s total

press release from Georgia Department of Public Safety

Update 11/30/2020

With just six hours left in the holiday travel period for Thanksgiving 2020, there were 22 fatalities reported for the 102-hour period.

Update 11/29/2020

With 12 hours still left in the 2020 Thanksgiving travel period, the fatality rate on Georgia roads sits at 21 as of noon on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Included in those statistics is one fatality worked by Gwinnett County Police Department and another worked by Georgia State Patrol Post 8 in Madison before midnight on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. In 2019, there were just 12 fatalities on Georgia roads over the 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday travel.

Update 11/27/2020 – Georgia Department of Public safety is reporting 11 fatalities on Georgia roads so far over the 102-hour Thanksgiving 2020 travel period. The travel period was not yet halfway through and almost equalled the number of fatalities over the Thanksgiving 2019 travel period. In 2019, 12 people died in traffic accidents over the full 102 hour travel period. None of the fatalities were in the local area.

Initial story

 (Atlanta, GA) – The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division (MCCD) will be in full force during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday travel period.  The 102-hour holiday travel period begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29.

“Troopers and Motor Carrier Officers will be patrolling interstates and secondary roads throughout the state to reduce traffic crashes, deter and correct bad driving behaviors, and make the roadways safer this holiday period,” said Colonel Chris C. Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

During the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 615 crashes, resulting in 287 injuries. Statewide, there were 12 fatal crashes, resulting in 12 deaths.  Of those crashes, GSP investigated nine fatal crashes resulting in nine fatalities.  In addition to crash investigations, Troopers and Officers arrested 343 people for driving under the influence, while issuing 11,935 citations and 16,243 warnings.

“Motorists should travel with patience, allow plenty of time to reach their destinations, be mindful and obey the posted speed limit, ensure every occupant is properly restrained in their vehicle, and never drive distracted or impaired,” added Colonel Wright.

AAA projects traveling by automobile to fall 4.3%, to 47.8 million travelers and account for 95% of all holiday travel.  They also add those who decide to travel are likely to drive shorter distances and reduce the number of days they are away, making road trips the dominant form of travel this Thanksgiving.

Here are some travel tips to keep in mind this holiday weekend:

  • Obey the posted speed limit. When you exceed the speed limit, you reduce the amount of available time needed to avoid a traffic crash.
  • Do not drive impaired. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, rideshare service, friend, or family member to help you get home safely.
  • Buckle Up! Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt and that children are properly restrained in the appropriate 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.
  • Pay attention to the road. Limit your distractions.  Never use electronic devices to text or surf the web while driving.  The Hands-Free Georgia Act prohibits all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
  • Plan your trip. Minimize the number of stops towards your destination, pack meals, extra snacks and drinks, as well as an emergency roadside kit.  
  • Do not leave children and pets in hot cars. Regularly check the back seat and back floor area for children and animals, each time you exit your vehicle.
  • Stay alert of your surroundings and show common courtesy to other motorists and pedestrians on the roads.
  • Wear a mask and practice social distancing while in public places such as grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and other inside places.  Continue these practices on beaches and parks.

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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