Officials: Use caution, expect holiday traffic
December 21, 2013 11:00 PM | 1113 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 30-hour Christmas holiday travel period begins Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. and wraps up at midnight on Christmas Day, and state and local officials are urging drivers to use caution as traffic is expected to be heavy as travelers move throughout the state.

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Jay Baker said drivers should expect congestion on roadways as drivers go out for last minute purchases and travel.

“Traffic around commercial/retail does pick up during the holiday season, as does traffic on highways and interstates due to holiday traffic,” he said. “Drivers should remember to always wear their seat belts and refrain from driving while impaired.”

Last year during the Christmas holiday travel period, Baker said the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office recorded 27 wrecks resulting in three injuries, six DUIs and 58 citations.

In addition to the Sheriff’s Office reports, the Georgia State Patrol recorded three crashes, three DUIs, 24 citations and 90 warnings in Cherokee County last Christmas travel period.

That period, which lasted for 102 hours, law enforcement officers statewide recorded 4,407 wrecks that resulted in 1,476 injuries and 26 fatalities. State troopers across Georgia reported 225 DUIs, 3,157 citations and 8,439 warnings, said Department of Public Safety spokesperson Tracey Watson.

Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said state troopers will be on patrol looking for people who are driving impaired or not wearing a seat belt.

“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 out on our roads,” McDonough said. “Make sure everyone is buckled up and that children are properly restrained. Don’t text and drive, and obey the posted speed limit.”

The state troopers will be mobilizing Operation Zero Tolerance during the holiday period, teaming up with local law enforcement to target impaired drivers, McDonough said.

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said any driver who is intoxicated over the legal limit of a .08 blood-alcohol content level will be taken straight to jail.

“You will see troopers, police officers and deputies making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period and if they suspect anyone is driving while intoxicated, they will show zero tolerance,” he said. “The December holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year and we are going to keep our roads safe for holiday travelers heading to visit family and friends.”

The New Year’s holiday travel period lasts for 30 hours this year, compared to last year’s period, which lasted 102 hours, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

The New Year’s holiday travel period begins on New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m. and ends on New Year’s Day at midnight.

Last year during the New Year’s holiday travel period, state troopers investigated 694 wrecks that resulted in 353 injuries and four fatalities.

Statewide, law enforcement recorded 3,691 wrecks, 1,164 injuries and seven fatalities, during last year’s New Year’s holiday travel period.



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