Update: Georgia Memorial Day travel fatalities already outstrip last year

Press release from Georgia Department of Public Safety

UPDATE –

As at 6 p.m. Memorial Day, fatalities as a result of accident on Georgia roads more already more than the total reported for the whole Memorial Day travel weekend last year. So far, Georgia State Patrol is reporting 17 road fatalities for 2017, five more than the 12 total fatalities reported in 2016, five of which were worked by GSP. Four of the 16 this year have been worked by GSP so far and five fatalities were reported in one incident by Baldwin County PD. One fatality was reported by Gwinnett County Police Department at the beginning of the travel period, but none have been reported in Walton County. The Memorial Day travel period ends at midnight on Memorial Day.

ATLANTA— The Georgia State Patrol is making final preparations for the Memorial Day holiday travel period.  This year, the travel period is 78-hours long, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 26, and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Memorial Day.

“In the coming days, troopers will be on full patrols during peak travel times, strictly enforcing seat belt laws and keeping an eye out for impaired drivers,” Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said in a press release. “They will not only be patrolling the interstates but secondary roads as well.”

Last year, during a similar holiday period, troopers investigated 430 crashes that resulted in 232 injuries, and five fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, 282 people were arrested for driving under the influence, while 8,560 citations and 11,490 warnings were issued.

The Memorial Day holiday signals the beginning of the summer travel season. Traffic is expected to be heavier due to graduation ceremonies, festivals, and vacation travelers adding to the normal weekend traffic flow.

“The Georgia State Patrol takes saving lives seriously, and encourages all motorists traveling through our state to put safety first,” McDonough said. “Everyone in the vehicle, especially children, should be properly restrained, and drivers should obey the speed limit, avoid driving a vehicle while distracted, and be courteous to other drivers.”

The Georgia State Patrol encourages using a designated driver if the consumption of alcoholic beverages will be in your plans. McDonough said that impaired driving is one of the leading contributing factors in fatal traffic crashes that our troopers investigate.

“Careful planning can prevent alcohol related traffic deaths, and if you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested,” he said.

During the Memorial Day travel period, the Georgia State Patrol will again be participating in the national mobilization of the “Click It, or Ticket” program. State troopers will be working alongside sheriffs’ deputies and police officers to enforce Georgia’s seat belt laws and to educate the public on the importance of wearing seat belts while traveling in motor vehicles. This program is coordinated in Georgia by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

The holiday traffic fatality count will be updated throughout the holiday period on the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/ga_dps.

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