Safety officials urge sobriety over holiday
by Michelle Babcock
July 03, 2013 12:00 AM | 1522 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the Independence Day holiday nears, public safety officials are urging drivers to stay sober and be careful.

The Fourth of July holiday season begins at 6 p.m. today and ends at midnight Sunday, a 102-hour period. Last year the holiday period was only 30 hours long since the holiday fell on a Wednesday.

Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said that local law enforcement will team up with state troopers for road checks during the busy travel period in efforts to keep the highways safe.

Operation Zero Tolerance will target impaired drivers, he said.

“Troopers and officers will not hesitate to arrest an impaired driver and tow their vehicle,” McDonough said. “If you see a driver that you suspect is impaired, notify law enforcement.”

During the 2012 Fourth of July holiday, the Georgia State Patrol reported 151 crashes that resulted in 120 injuries and one fatality. Troopers made 127 DUI arrests last year, the GSP said in a news release.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office reported four accidents with no injuries or fatalities, one DUI and 34 citations during the Fourth of July holiday last year.

The GSP warned in the press release that impaired driving is one of the leading factors in the majority of fatal wrecks they investigate.

During this year’s long holiday weekend, GAP will also participate in the nationwide Operation CARE, or Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Troopers will work with the highway patrols and state police agencies to conduct high visibility patrols and offer safety education to try to reduce the amount of traffic deaths.

Drivers also are reminded to be aware of many holiday events taking place across Georgia.

Downtown Woodstock will have the Freedom Run at 7:30 a.m. and parade at 10 a.m. down Main Street, and celebration at The Park at City Center until 3 p.m. Fireworks will be behind the Target shopping center on Highway 92 at dusk.

Woodstock police announced that “Main Street/Rope Mill Road will be closed from Highway 92 to Woodstock Elementary School” for the Freedom Run beginning at 7:30 a.m. The road will briefly reopen at 8:30 a.m. before the area is closed again 9:45 a.m. for the parade. The road is expected to reopen at about 11:30 a.m.

Woodstock police said they anticipate heavy traffic for the fireworks display around Woodstock Square Avenue. After the fireworks, the police department will be directing traffic, and signs will be placed at exists to assist drivers, according to a news release.

Those parked south of Highway 92 (Super Target, BJ’s, Lowe’s, Molly Lane, Woodstock Square Avenue) will have to turn right and travel east on Highway 92. Traffic parked north of Highway 92 (Home Depot, Big Lots, Honda, IHOP) have to turn right and go west on Highways 92. No left turns or U-turns will be allowed on Highways 92 until parking lots and streets have been cleared.

Other Woodstock road closures at Main Street during the events include: at the Old Wal-Mart/Brands for Less Furniture Store, at Serenade Drive, at Bowles Drive, at Ingram Street, at Barnesdale Terrace, at Dupree Road, at Noonday Street, at Oak Street, at Mill Street, at Rope Mill Road and at Dobbs Road.

Downtown Canton will have their parade from 6 to 7 p.m. down Main Street and North Street, and fireworks will be at dusk at the Riverstone Plaza.

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