Georgia State troopers and officers with the Motor Carrier Compliance Division of the Georgia Department of Public Safety are preparing for Memorial Day weekend with a focus on impaired drivers and seat belt violations. The 78-hour Memorial Day holiday travel period begins at 6 tonight and ends at midnight on Memorial Day.
Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said troopers and MCCD officers will be patrolling in an effort to keep holiday crash statistics as low as possible.
"Troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance officers will be conducting road checks, high visibility patrols and concentrated patrols across the state during the holiday period," he said.
Motorists are advised to use caution as they travel this holiday weekend.
"Traffic will be heavy as graduation ceremonies, festivals and vacation travelers will add to the normal weekend traffic," McDonough said.
During the 2013 Memorial Day weekend, state troopers investigated 650 crashes that resulted in 366 injuries and six fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations last year, troopers arrested 310 people for driving under the influence while issuing 9,288 citations and 15,328 warnings.
The Georgia State Patrol encourages everyone who will be traveling to always use their seat belt and take the time to make sure children are properly restrained.
"This is also All American Buckle-Up Week across the nation," McDonough noted. "Now through Memorial Day, state highway patrols and state police agencies from across the United States and Canada are joining together to educate the public on the importance of wearing seat belts while traveling in motor vehicles. This is also an opportunity for everyone who will be traveling to make an extra effort to make sure seat belts are used by everyone in the vehicle."
All American Buckle-Up Week is an educational program of Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort). The Memorial Day holiday weekend is also an Operation CARE holiday period. CARE is sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for state law enforcement agencies across the United States and Canada. The goal of the campaign is to reduce traffic deaths through high visibility enforcement and education. This year is the program's 37th anniversary.
The highest number of traffic deaths on Georgia roads during the Memorial Day holiday weekend occurred in 2005 when 32 people were killed in traffic crashes. The lowest number was recored in 2010 when five people were killed.