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GSP urges safety during holiday travel
fourth of july

ATLANTA — The July Fourth holiday travel period will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and end at midnight Sunday.

“State troopers are preparing for full patrols during the peak travel times,” said Col. Mark W. McDonough, the state’s public-safety commissioner.

The Georgia State Patrol encourages everyone to celebrate the holiday responsibly. Troopers will conduct road checks and high-visibility patrols across the state during the holiday period, watching for impaired drivers, seat-belt use violators and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a traffic crash.

Last year, troopers investigated 554 traffic crashes over the Fourth of July weekend that resulted in 277 injuries and four fatalities. In addition to the traffic crash investigations, troopers arrested 343 people for driving under the influence while issuing 8,666 citations and 13,730 warnings.

This holiday period, the GSP is participating in the Operation Zero Tolerance campaign, a nationwide mobilization against impaired drivers. State troopers will work alongside sheriff’s deputies and police officers to apprehend impaired drivers.

“If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested,” McDonough said.

As you gather this weekend with family and friends to celebrate the nation’s independence, make safety a priority. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you travel:

• Wear your seat belt. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up before you hit the road, no matter how short the trip.

• Obey the speed limit. Exceeding the speed limit reduces the amount of available time needed to avoid a crash.

• Avoid distracted driving. Refrain from performing any activity that may take your focus off of the road, such as texting while driving.

• Be courteous to other drivers. Stay alert of your surroundings and show common courtesy to other motorists and pedestrians on the roads.

• Properly install child-safety seats. Georgia law requires children younger than 8 to be in either a car seat or booster seat suitable for their age and height.

• Do not leave children and pets in hot cars. Get in the habit of regularly checking the back seat and back floor area for children and animals each time you exit your vehicle.

Friday through Monday, the GSP will also participate in Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort. This is a nationwide traffic-safety initiative among state highway patrols and state police agencies in which troopers and officers across the United States and Canada work together during holidays to reduce the number of traffic deaths through high-visibility patrols and education.

The highest number of July Fourth holiday fatalities was in 1972, when 34 people were killed.  The lowest was two, in 1962, 1984 and 2012.

The holiday traffic count will be updated throughout the holiday period on the Georgia Department of Public Safety Twitter page,

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