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Motorists urged to use caution
Increased traffic likely for holiday weekend
4 Labor Day Safety pic
A Dawsonville woman was flown to an area hospital in serious condition Friday after a two-vehicle, head-on wreck involving a delivery truck on Valley Road. Law enforcement officials are urging motorists to use caution on area roads over the Labor Day holiday weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday and runs through midnight Monday. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Two wrecks within an hour Friday had authorities reminding motorists to use caution over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

"We urge everyone to slow down, give yourself more time to travel to your destinations and most importantly wear your seatbelts," said Senior Trooper Mark Cox with the Georgia State Patrol,

The 25-year-old Dawsonville woman seriously injured in Friday's head-on collision with a delivery truck was not wearing a seatbelt, according to a spokeswoman for the state patrol.

Nicole Lovero was flown to Atlanta Medical Center about noon with injuries to her legs and arm after authorities say she crossed the centerline on Valley Road and collided with a FedEx truck.

The delivery truck driver, 53-year-old Christopher Trosterud of Dawsonville, "swerved to the right and attempted to avoid the vehicle," said Robin Stone with the state patrol.

Trosterud was treated at the scene for minor injuries to his hand and arm. Neither driver was cited in the wreck.

About an hour later, troopers handled a wreck at Alden Court near downtown Dawsonville in which a motorist was cited for failure to maintain lane after striking a Mercury Sable.

Damon Knittle, 43, of Marble Hill, also received a warning for driving without proof of insurance. He was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The driver of the Sable, 18-year-old Paige Reece of Dawsonville, had burns to her chest when her airbag deployed. Both were wearing seatbelts at the time of impact, according to state patrol reports.

Considered by many to mark the end of summer, the 78-hour Labor Day weekend travel period generally results in increased traffic.

This year, season openers for many high school and college football teams are expected to add to the road congestion.

State troopers remind motorists who will be on the roads over the holiday period, which runs from 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Monday to plan their trips carefully.

They should allow ample time to reach their destination, plan rest stops along the way, obey the posted speed limit, don't drink and drive and make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained.

Motorists should expect a greater law enforcement presence on roads during the holiday weekend as troopers team up with local deputies for Operation Zero Tolerance to target impaired drivers.

"A driver that operates a vehicle impaired puts all others on the road in danger," said Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. "Georgia State Troopers take saving lives seriously and they do not hesitate to arrest those that choose to drive impaired."

Last year, 10 people died in Georgia crashes over the Labor Day weekend. Across the state, troopers investigated 373 wrecks that resulted in 230 injuries. They also arrested 240 people for driving under the influence and issued 983 seatbelt violation citations.

In Dawson County alone, there were eight crashes with two injuries and one DUI arrest, along with 59 warnings and 35 tickets issued.

"Drivers just really need to be patient," Cox said. "There's going to be a lot of traffic out this weekend, especially around the outlet mall, so everyone needs to leave themselves enough time to get where they're going."