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GSP hopes for safe New Year

Georgia highway safety officials and the Georgia State Patrol are again asking for drivers to be careful on the road as people celebrate the arrival of 2010.

11 people died on Georgia roads during the Christmas holiday period, which ran from 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve through midnight on Sunday, Dec. 27, according to the State Patrol. In addition to the deaths, 503 injuries resulted from 2,166 total crashes.

None of the deaths occurred in Southwest Georgia. Two were reported by the GSP’s post in Dublin, Ga., while one each were reported by the GSP’s Brunswick and Hinesville posts, located in Coastal Georgia.

The 11 deaths were seven deaths less than had been predicted and significantly lower than the 24 deaths caused by 2,783 crashes during the Christmas holiday period in 2008.

Earlier this month, GSP announced a month-long crackdown on impaired drivers to reduce the number of impaired-driving fatalities on the state’s roads. Road checks, concentrated patrols, and high visibility patrols are planned throughout the holiday periods.

GSP Commander Col. Bill Hitchens advised people who plan on drinking on New Year’s Eve to designate a sober driver in advance or call a taxi. Wearing a seatbelt is the best way people can protect themselves from intoxicated drivers, Hitchens said.