The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Georgia Department of Public Safety are asking drivers to put safety at the top of their list this holiday season when they are on the road during what is expected to be the most heavily traveled Christmas holiday period ever in the United States.
With predictions of more than 102 million people traveling on our nation’s roads during Christmas and New Year’s, state and local law enforcement are reminding all drivers to be patient, make sure everyone in their vehicle is wearing a seat belt and ensure all children under the age of eight are riding in an approved child passenger safety seat or booster seat.
“With so many people expected to be on the road for the long holiday weekend, we ask everyone to make sure they are rested for their trip because drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “Watch your speed, put down your phone and pay attention to the road so you can safely get where you are going. All we want is for everyone to get there and get back home safely on every trip.”
The Georgia State Patrol and local law enforcement won’t be taking a holiday during the Christmas and New Year’s travel periods, when one of their top priorities will be taking drunk drivers off the road and to jail.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were 24 alcohol-related traffic fatalities statewide in December of 2017 and over the last five years, there have been on an average of 300 alcohol-related traffic deaths in the United States from Christmas to New Year’s Day.
“There should be no surprise that the Georgia State Patrol, particularly during the holiday season, is going to push DUI enforcement,” Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Colonel Mark McDonough said. “Plan ahead because we don’t want anybody harmed by driving under the influence and we don’t want anybody’s holiday to become a tragedy.”
“It happens every year that someone has one too many,” Blackwood said. “If you wait until the second drink touches your lips, you have waited too long. You need to make your plans for a sober ride home before you arrive at your party or event.”
AAA’s “Tow-To-Go” program is an option for those who fail to plan ahead for a sober ride home. The “Tow-To-Go” service will once again offer free tows and rides up to 10 miles from now until 6 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
Those interested in the free ride can visit https://autoclubsouth.aaa.com/safety/tow_to_go.aspx or call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO for more information during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday travel period.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety also offers these tips for all drivers who are going to be on the road during the end-of-year holiday travel period:
Leave earlier for your destination because the extra traffic on the road may increase travel times.
Don’t try to make up time by speeding.
Make sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing their seat belts and all children under 8 are riding in an approved child passenger safety seat or booster seat.
Limit driver distractions by staying off phones. Find a safe place to pull off the road if you need to speak to someone or check your navigation.
Plan rest stops as needed and alternate drivers if possible.
For more information on GOHS’ impaired driving awareness programs, visit https://www.gahighwaysafety.org. Follow GOHS on social media at www.facebook.com/gahighwayafety , @gohsgeorgia on Twitter and Instagram or GOHSGEORGIA on YouTube.