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Don't become statistic over holiday

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POSTED: May 27, 2010 7:58 a.m.
ATLANTA - The 78-hour Memorial Day holiday travel period begins Friday evening and the Georgia State Patrol will be watching for impaired drivers and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a traffic crash.
The holiday begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends Memorial Day.
Traffic estimates from the Crash Reporting Unit at the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol are for 1,972 traffic crashes, 696 injuries and 15 deaths on Georgia roads. Last year Georgia recorded 16 traffic deaths and 2,430 crashes. The crashes resulted in 1,126 injuries.
Col. Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said troopers and officers from the department's Motor Carrier Compliance Division and Capitol Police are preparing for full patrols during the peak travel times over the 78-hours.
"Last year, 16 people died on our roads during the holiday weekend, including three deaths that were alcohol-related," he said. "Seven of the 14 people killed in car crashes were not wearing seat belts or other safety equipment," he said.
Two people were killed in motorcycle crashes.
The commissioner encourages everyone who will be traveling to always use their seat belt and take the time to make sure children are properly restrained at all times.
"This is All-American Buckle-Up Week across the country," Hitchens said. "State highway patrols and state police agencies are concentrating on getting the message out that seat belt use saves lives."
The Memorial Day weekend is also an Operation CARE period. Operation CARE, or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, is a program sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for state law enforcement agencies across the United States and Canada in a campaign to reduce traffic deaths through high visibility enforcement and education.
Additionally Hitchens asked motorists to be considerate of other drivers and be patient while behind the wheel.
The highest number of traffic deaths on Georgia roads during a Memorial Day weekend occurred in 2005 when 32 people were killed in holiday crashes. The lowest number occurred in 1979 and 2007 when 10 deaths were recorded. The Crash Reporting Unit began keeping statistics on Memorial Day travel in 1969.
 

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