Georgia highways not as deadly as predicted -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia highways not as deadly as predicted

May 28, 2007

Albany-  With hours remaining in Georgia's busiest holiday travel weekend, it's shaping up to be one of the safest Memorial Day weekends in the last 38 years.

The travel period wraps up at midnight Monday night. By midday Monday there had been just two fatalities on Georgia's Highways and none in south Georgia. While there have only been two fatalities this holiday weekend, there have been more than two thousand crashes on Georgia's highways.

The Georgia State Patrol Albany Post stopped more than a hundred drivers over the three day weekend. The top reason, speeding.

Despite predictions of heavy traffic on Georgia's highways Emily Rivera's family was Florida bound Monday. Rivera doesn't want to see blue lights in her rear-view mirror.

"I think you've got to make sure that the kids have their seat belts on, you know, drive slow, don't speed, and make sure that you're not drinking and driving at the same time," said Emily Rivera of Albany.

The Georgia State Patrol wishes every motorist on Georgia's highways would be as cautious as Rivera.

"The majority of our cases this weekend have mainly been speeding and that's typically because people do not allow themselves enough time or they're traveling so far they get in that lackadaisical state," said Sgt. Scott Woodell, Georgia State Patrol.

By 2:00 Monday afternoon, the Albany Post had stopped more than 80 drivers and many pulled out all of the excuses.

"It's their responsibility to know where they're at and how fast they should be going and that's some of the excuses we get. The other one is people that get lost, they have maps in their hands when I pull them over and they're in that panic mode of they don't know where they're at, they don't know how far they've gone off route," said Woodell.

This Memorial Day the Georgia State Patrol is trying to keep drivers safe with fewer troopers, only three troopers from the Albany post are off Monday.

"We are understaffed, we have a man power issue, but at the same time we don't want to neglect them being with their family," said Woodell.

As summer travel season kicks off and more motorists hit the highways, many already on the road hope others will have heard trooper's warning and drive carefully.

"I guess you've got to take your chances," said Rivera.

State Troopers say these last few hours can sometimes be the deadliest. People have been out at picnics all day, having a good time and may have been drinking. Troopers remind everyone to designate a driver and don't drink and drive.