Officers enforce safe driving on rural roads - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Officers enforce safe driving on rural roads

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By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -South Georgia has thousands of miles of rural two-lane roads. Monday, law enforcement officers focused on making those roads less dangerous.

Officers with the Southwest Georgia Traffic Enforcement Network conducted road checks looking for traffic violators and folks not wearing their seat belts.

Ajsia Smith is not happy police pulled her over for improper child restraint. Her son's car seat buckle was too tight and popped off.

"I guess we have to get a bigger seat but it's stupid and this is my first time getting pulled over because of his car seat," said Smith.

Officers say a properly installed car seat is just as important as cutting down on impaired driving, speeding, license violations, and increasing seat belt usage - especially on narrow, two-lane roads with no physical barrier dividing oncoming traffic.

"The fatality and wreck rate is high in the rural areas that are unbelted," said Sergeant Bruce Womble with the Cairo Police Department.

"There are deaths that happen out here on our roads that no restraint is going to help but the ones we're trying to save are the ones who die in the survivable crashes," said Law Enforcement Liaison Tony Bobbitt.

18 law enforcement departments in southwest Georgia set up road checks on Highway 111 in Cairo, Grady County, and in Whigham to send out the Click It or Ticket Message loud and clear.

"What we found out in our studies in the crash reports is that only 25 percent of Georgians live in the rural areas but most of the wrecks happen in the rural areas," Bobbitt added.

Bobbitt wants to remind people to buckle up in Georgia. He says 56 percent of those killed in rural area crashes were not wearing seat belts.

The Governors Office of Highway safety says if drivers wear their seat belts correctly, they can reduce their risk of fatal injuries by 80 percent if their car crashes and overturns. It's something to think about not only on rural roads but on every road people drive on.

In 2008, more than 34,000 fatal crashes occurred in the country. More than half of those crashes and fatalities occurred on rural roads.


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