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Law enforcement officials urge caution during upcoming holiday weekends
police emergency

The Georgia State Patrol and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division are encouraging motorists to exercise safe driving habits during the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel periods.

According to a Georgia Department of Public Safety press release, state troopers will be on high visibility patrols on interstates and state roads during the next two weeks in an effort to reduce crashes on Georgia roadways.

“This year has been one for the record books,” Colonel Chris C. Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said in a press release Thursday. “However, it is still the primary focus and commitment of State Troopers and Officers to focus on motorists who break state traffic laws and exercise bad driving habits that could potentially cause serious injuries or fatal crashes.”

During the 2019 Christmas holiday travel period, which lasted 54-hours, GSP investigated 248 crashes that resulted in 149 injuries and eight fatal crashes resulting in nine fatalities. Troopers and officers issued a total of 5,333 citations and 8,222 warnings, with 124 people arrested for DUI.

The 2020 New Year’s holiday travel period lasted 30-hours and resulted in 143 crashes, 71 injuries and two fatal crashes investigated by GSP. During that period officers issued 5,083 citations, 7,275 warnings and arrested 160 people for DUI.

This year’s Christmas travel period is 78-hours long, lasting from 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 27. The 78-hour New Year’s holiday period will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 3.

AAA Travel is expecting a 29% decrease in holiday travel between December 23, and January 3, compared to last year’s holiday season, according to the release. This is attributed to public health concerns and official guidance not to travel for the holidays.

Officials say that even though a decrease in holiday traffic is expected over the 2019 holiday season, residents still need to make a plan for holiday celebrations and to have a sober driver. 

“Although this year’s Christmas and New Year’s celebrations do not mirror those of last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, we want everyone to enjoy this holiday season with family and friends by driving sober, staying focused on the road, and obeying the traffic laws and executive orders of this state,” Wright said. 

An updated traffic fatality count will be published on the Department of Public Safety’s Twitter page: