The GSP is cautioning drivers to plan for a sober, designated driver if alcohol consumption will be part of the celebrations. Troopers will be patrolling throughout the holiday periods with enforcement emphasis on impaired drivers, unrestrained drivers and passengers and drivers exceeding the speed limit, said Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
“Each holiday period, troopers are called to investigate traffic crashes involving serious injuries or fatalities, and these crashes could have been prevented,” McDonough said.
The Christmas holiday travel period begins Friday, Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. and ends on the night of Monday, Dec. 26. The New Year’s holiday period begins Friday, Dec. 30 at 6 p.m. and ends on the night of Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. Both holiday periods are 78 hours long.
During last year’s Christmas period, the GSP investigated 351 traffic crashes, which resulted in 280 injuries and three fatalities. Troopers arrested 95 people for driving under the influence.
During last year’s New Year’s holiday period, troopers investigated 320 traffic crashes in Georgia that led to 270 injuries and seven traffic deaths. A total of 174 people were arrested for driving under the influence.
McDonough said drivers should plan their travels carefully by making sure the motor vehicle is ready for a long trip. This includes checking the air pressures in the tires, making sure the windshield wiper blades are not cracked, checking that all lights — 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,” McDonough said. “This is a festive time of the year, and we want everyone to enjoy the holiday season. But we also want everyone to be safe on our highways.”