Georgia Thanksgiving holiday patrols begin Wednesday

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ATLANTA — Heavy travel is anticipated for the upcoming 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday travel period and the Georgia State Patrol is asking drivers to use caution as they travel.

The holiday period begins Wednesday, November 24 and ends Sunday, November 28 at midnight. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers and officers with the DPS Motor Carrier Compliance Division will be watching for impaired drivers, occupant protection violations, and speed violations on the state’s roads.

Last year, 13 people died in traffic crashes on Georgia roads during the 102-hour holiday period.  The Georgia Department of Transportation reports 2,348 traffic crashes across the state that resulted in 888 injuries.  According to the Crash Reporting Unit at the GDOT, none of the fatal crashes involved alcohol or drugs, four victims were not wearing a seat belt (use was not known in seven of the crashes), and one crash resulted in two or more fatalities.

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is also an Operation C.A.R.E. holiday period.  Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, is a program of the nation’s highway patrols that promotes safe driving on interstate highways during the holiday periods.  The program, sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is now in its 33rd year with a goal of reducing traffic deaths through high visibility enforcement combined with education throughout the United States and Canada.

Colonel Hitchens said troopers and MCCD officers are concentrating their efforts on seat belt and child restraint violations as part of Operation Click It or Ticket.  The nationwide mobilization began last week and continues through the holiday period with law enforcement officers across the country working to save lives through enforcement.

The Commissioner added that troopers will be watching for impaired drivers as well during holiday patrols.  He noted the Thanksgiving holiday period is a time when impaired drivers fail to heed the warnings to choose a designated driver.

The Georgia State Patrol reminds motorists to plan their travels carefully and allow plenty of time to reach destinations.  “Anticipate travel delays,” Colonel Hitchens said, “and be prepared should rain make driving conditions hazardous.”

Motorists are reminded of Georgia’s “Steer It and Clear It” law that requires drivers involved in crashes with no apparent serious personal injury or death to move the vehicles out of the traffic lanes if the vehicles are drivable.

During the past five years, 95 people have been killed in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period.  There have been 15,490 traffic crashes reported that have resulted in 6,225 injuries.

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