Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Issues Sobering Holiday Predictions

It’s tragic to report, but fifteen of the twenty-two Georgia traffic fatalities from the 2006 Memorial Day holiday involved crash victims who weren’t wearing seatbelts. Heavy holiday traffic is expected again throughout Georgia as many motorists are already on the road to their vacation destinations for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. That’s why law enforcement agencies across the state are running roadchecks day and night this Memorial Day holiday driving period to target drivers and passengers who don’t bother to buckle-up.

“Motorists should be prepared to encounter these high visibility Click It Or Ticket safety belt checkpoints throughout the holiday weekend as part of the Memorial Day mobilization,” said Director Bob Dallas of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). The Georgia State Patrol and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are urging drivers to use extra caution during the Memorial Day driving period that begins Friday, May 23 at 6PM and ends at midnight Memorial Day. As Georgians pack-up their cars for the first big vacation trip of the summer, the Department of Public Safety and the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Crash Reporting Unit are releasing a sobering prediction for 2,300 traffic crashes resulting in 1,262 injuries and 19 traffic deaths.. All within a 78-hour travel period in Georgia.

The good news is, more than 72-percent of drivers and passengers involved in serious crashes nationwide survived when wearing safety belts correctly in 2006. “There’s no question. Safety belts are among the most important lifesaving inventions of our time and still your best protection against a deadly encounter with a drunk driver,” said GOHS Director Bob Dallas. “Think about it. How many times has a seat belt protected you in a close-call or saved the life of someone you know? No every-day device saves lives faster or as often as your safety belt.”

“Wearing your seatbelt costs you nothing, but the cost for not wearing one certainly will,” said Brian M. McLaughlin, the Senior Associate Administrator for Traffic Injury Control at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). McLaughlin came to Atlanta to launch Georgia’s Memorial Day Click It Or Ticket campaign. “So, don’t risk it with a ticket or worse, a life. Please remember to buckle up day and night – Click It or Ticket.”

The Memorial Day holiday also launches Georgia’s 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. speed and aggressive driving initiative. H.E.A.T. stands for Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic. The 100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T. is a multi-jurisdictional highway safety enforcement strategy designed to reduce high-fatality crash-counts during the deadly summer holiday driving period from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.

“Waves of law enforcement patrols, including the Georgia State Patrol and the department’s Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police units will crack down on impaired drivers, unbuckled drivers, and high-speed drivers for the fifth consecutive year,” said Director Dallas. “Our data shows these are the top three causes of fatality crashes on Georgia highways, not just on Memorial Day, but throughout the year.”

Dallas advises high-risk motorists to “Slow Down.” Besides getting you a ticket, speeding wastes gas. Fuel efficiency rapidly decreases at speeds over sixty-mph.. And every five miles-an-hour over sixty-mph is like paying an additional twenty cents-a-gallon at the pump. “Speeding can lower your gas mileage by 5-percent around town and as much as 33-percent at highway speeds,” says Dallas. “Driving at the speed limit saves gas. We already know it saves lives. Why not do both this holiday?”

The Memorial Day Crash Count will be posted on the GSP website at and updated every six hours. For more information on H.E.A.T. and Click It Or Ticket visit http://www.gahighwaysafety,org .. day or night..

From, Dawson County GA News

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