During the holiday period, which lasted from 6 p.m. on Friday until midnight Tuesday, the Georgia State Patrol reported 585 traffic crashes statewide with 266 injuries and six fatalities reported. Early activity reports show state troopers arrested 321 people for driving under the influence across the state.
The six statewide fatalities occurred in Cobb County, Athens, Macon, Warner Robbins, Valdosta and Madison.
Troopers at the Villa Rica post, which investigates crashes in Carroll and Douglas counties, responded to 15 vehicle wrecks during the 102-hour holiday period that resulted in 11 injuries. The post is also the busiest in the state, as troopers respond to between 4,000 and 5,000 crashes each year.
Prior to the Christmas travel period, which included no fatalities for Carroll County as well, the GSP and other law enforcement agencies announced their intentions to focus on impaired driving through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, Col. Mark McDonough, said that troopers would be on the lookout for seatbelt and speeding violations, as well as impaired driving.
“Each holiday period, troopers are called to investigate traffic crashes involving serious injuries or fatalities, and these crashes could have been prevented,” he said. “This is a festive time of the year, and we want everyone to enjoy the holiday season, but we also want everyone to be safe on our highways.”
Historically, traffic accidents and fatalities are relatively sparse during Christmas travel, but there have been more fatalities during the New Year’s travel period because of the population’s propensity to drink.
According to New Year’s travel statistics released last year by the GSP, while there were only three fatalities in the state last Christmas, there were seven fatalities over the New Year’s travel period.
Last year, during a 78-hour holiday period, state troopers investigated 296 crashes that resulted in 172 injuries statewide. There were 13 fatal crashes statewide last year.
“Troopers are cautioning drivers to plan for a sober designated driver if alcohol consumption will be part of the celebrations,” the agency said in a press release.
The GSP maintains heightened patrols for six national holidays each year: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.