With just one week until Christmas Eve, the Georgia State Patrol is reminding motorists to keep safety at the forefront when traveling around Christmas and New Year’s.
In an effort to reduce the number of crashes on Georgia roadways, State troopers will be on high visibility patrols on interstates and state roads. The Christmas travel period is 78-hours long, from 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, until 11:59 p.m. 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.
Colonel Chris C. Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said, “This year has been one for the record books, 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.”
According to AAA Travel, there will be a 29% decrease in holiday travel between December 23, and January 3, compared to last year’s holiday season due to public health concerns, official guidance not to travel, and an overall decline in consumer sentiment which has encouraged many Americans to stay home for the holidays.
Last year, the 2019 Christmas holiday travel period was only 54-hours long. During that period, the state patrol 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 driving impaired.
During the 2020 New Year’s holiday travel period, which was just 30-hours long, the state patrol worked 143 crashes that resulted in 71 injuries and two fatal crashes resulting in two fatalities. In addition, troopers and officers issued 5,083 citations, 7,275 warnings, and arrested 160 people for driving under the influence.
If you plan to include alcohol consumption in your holiday celebrations, make sure to plan for a sober designated driver by contacting a taxi or rideshare, a friend, or family member to help you get home safely. Make these decisions before you get into the holiday spirit.
In addition to enforcing traffic laws, troopers and officers caution drivers to avoid becoming a distracted driver. The most important thing is to stay focused on where you are going and the drivers around you so that crashes do not ruin your Christmas festivities.
“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,” added the Commissioner Wright.