State troopers to focus on impaired drivers

(ATLANTA) – The Georgia State Patrol is reminding motorists to plan carefully before hitting the highways for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel periods. Troopers are cautioning drivers to plan for a sober designated driver if alcohol consumption will be part of the celebrations.

Colonel Mark McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers will be patrolling throughout the holiday periods with enforcement emphasis on impaired drivers, unrestrained drivers and passengers, and drivers exceeding the speed limit.

“Each holiday period, troopers are called to investigate traffic crashes involving serious injuries or fatalities, and these crashes could have been prevented,” he said.

The Christmas holiday travel period begins Friday, December 23 at 6 p.m. and ends Monday night, December 26. The New Year’s holiday period begins Friday, December 30 at 6 p.m. and ends Monday night, January 2, 2012. Both holiday periods are 78-hours long.

Last year during the Christmas holiday period, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 351 traffic crashes which resulted in 280 injuries and 3 fatalities. Troopers arrested 95 people for driving under the influence during the 78 hours of the holiday period. During the New Year’s holiday period, troopers investigated 320 traffic crashes in Georgia that resulted in 270 injuries and 7 traffic deaths. During holiday period patrols, 174 people were arrested for driving under the influence.

Colonel McDonough reminds drivers to plan their travels carefully by making sure the motor vehicle is ready for a long trip by checking the air pressure in the tires; making sure the windshield wiper blades are not cracked; checking that all headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and tag lights are working; and checking the vehicle’s fluid levels. “Before leaving on the trip, make sure everyone is properly restrained, take frequent rest stops along the way, and don’t speed,” he said.

“This is a festive time of the year and we want everyone to enjoy the holiday season,” Colonel McDonough noted, “but we also want everyone to be safe on our highways.”

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