ATLANTA — The Thanksgiving travel period has always been one of the busiest times on Georgia roads and because of that, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety uses this period to remind motorists to buckle up during the annual Click It or Ticket campaign.
Because holiday fatalities and unbelted crashes continue at unacceptable rates, GOHS has enlisted some extra help to bring the message home this year — Gov. Nathan Deal and first lady Sandra Deal.
The Deals are featured in a public-service announcement entitled “I’m Thankful,” which is air statewide on television and radio during the Thanksgiving enforcement period, Nov. 16-29. While focusing on the Click It or Ticket message of buckling up, it is launched in conjunction with the “Drive Alert. Arrive Alive.” program launched by the Department of Transportation, GOHS and the Department of Public Safety earlier this year. The ad focuses on the contributions of motorists, parents and law enforcement in making sure everyone is buckled up properly.
“I’m thankful for every Georgian who obeys the law and takes the time to reach down and buckle their seatbelt before they begin their trip,” Gov. Deal said. “We’re thankful for law-enforcement professionals across our state who uphold the highest standard. Thank you in advance for making this a safe holiday season for all who travel in Georgia.”
Data show that Thanksgiving is indeed a dangerous time to be on Georgia roads. During last year’s 102-hour travel period from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26 to midnight the following Sunday, Georgia experienced 19 traffic fatalities, which was up from 10 the year before. Georgia also saw 376 unbelted traffic fatalities in 2013, which is more than both alcohol- and speed-related fatalities.
“We are extremely grateful to the governor and Mrs. Deal for their contribution to this campaign,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “We want to make sure motorists and their passengers are buckling up every trip, every time. It doesn’t matter if you’re just going to the store for one more can of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving or across several states to spend the holiday with family. Every trip, every time.”
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving crashes and unbelted fatalities are not unique to Georgia. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2013, 301 people were killed in traffic crashes nationwide. Tragically, 58 percent of those killed were unrestrained at the time of their crash.
To view the PSA, go to www.facebook.com/GeorgiaGOHS, and to learn more about Click It or Ticket and other GOHS programs, go to www.gahighwaysafety.org.