Troopers warn against impaired driving during July 4th holiday

by | June 30, 2009 12:00 am

As motorists take to the roads this week for the July Fourth holiday travel period, the Georgia State Patrol is reminding drivers to plan their travels carefully, keeping safety as the number one priority. The 78-hour holiday period begins this Thursday at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Sunday, July 5.

Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Monday that Georgia State Troopers and officers with the Department’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division will be patrolling throughout the weekend in an effort to keep the holiday traffic count as low as possible. “Our Troopers and MCCD Officers will be concentrating on the most common violations identified as contributing factors in fatal traffic crashes,” he said. “Speeding, impaired driving, and failing to wear occupant safety equipment top the list.”

Traffic crashes during the 2008 July Fourth holiday travel period claimed the lives of 22 people in Georgia. There were 1,860 traffic crashes reported and 910 people injured. Traffic estimates from the Crash Reporting Unit at the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol are for 1,874 crashes, 895 injuries and 22 fatalities. Last year, two of the 22 traffic deaths were alcohol related.

“Anytime a holiday period falls on a weekend, there is an increased chance of encountering an alcohol impaired driver as you travel,” Colonel Hitchens said. “Minimize distractions in your vehicle and be alert should you be forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision.” The Commissioner reminds motorists to report suspected impaired drivers by calling the Georgia State Patrol at Star G-S-P (*477) from your cell phone. “This holiday period marks the 15th anniversary of the Star G-S-P program.”

The highest number of July Fourth holiday traffic fatalities occurred in 1972 when 34 people were killed, and the lowest occurred in 1962 and 1984 when two people were killed.

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