Deadly holiday weekend on Georgia roads - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Deadly holiday weekend on Georgia roads

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November 27, 2005

Albany-- The heaviest and longest holiday period is proving to be one of the deadliest on Georgia's roadways.  As of 6:00 p.m. Sunday night, there were 16 fatalities, three more than predicted. There were nearly 3,000 wrecks and over 700 injuries. Georgia State Patrol troopers were out in full force to make sure everyone on the roads got home safely.

It's only a short time before the Thanksgiving holiday travel period ends. "Here we are in the last few hours and the crunch is on," says Sgt. Jamie Sullivan of the Georgia State Patrol. Many are hitting the road on their way back home and Sergeant Jamie Sullivan is doing his best to make sure he stays visible. Visibility is one way to keep the number of crashes down.

"Unfortunately when traffic picks up, the number of crashes and number of fatalities pick up," says Sullivan. So far, the number of fatalities already exceeded predictions. "It bothers me that it's sixteen fatalities at this time. That means sixteen funerals, sixteen mourning families," says Sullivan. That's sixteen in just one weekend and Sullivan doesn't want that number to increase anymore. The last traveling day of the 102 hour weekend brought with it some bad driving conditions.

"The rain makes the road slicker and this type of rain is the worst kind of rain we can have with it not actually washing the highway off," says Sullivan. With the holiday travel period coming to an end, traffic on US 19 picked up. "The rush is on from now until midnight when people are trying to rush home," says Sullivan. Sullivan says rushing is a big no-no and the cause of many crashes. Drivers should also be well rested and buckled up.

"Just slow down. You're gonna get there a little bit later but it's better to arrive alive," says Sullivan. Although many lives are already lost on Georgia's roadways, Sullivan can only hope. "That the numbers stay the same. Unfortunately, I don't believe that will happen with this kind of traffic out, the numbers will go up," says Sullivan.

So the only thing left to do is countdown until the holiday period ends. "There's the last count at midnight tonight," says Sullivan. Georgia ranks 4th in the nation when it comes to traffic crashes and over a dozen names will now be added to the list of lives lost during the longest holiday period of the year.

This week, officials will analyze data and look at patterns to determine what may have caused the number of wrecks. The highest record number of fatalities over the Thanksgiving holiday period was 43 in 1969. The lowest was four in 1949.

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