GA roadways deadly this holiday - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GA roadways deadly this holiday

By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

December 27, 2008

DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Georgia highways have proven to be very deadly this holiday travel period with the number of deaths almost exceeding what was predicted.

Georgia State patrol predicted that 19 people would die this weekend, and so far 17 people have been killed and more than two-thousand injured on the state's highways since Wednesday evening. Troopers say the majority of these fatalities are unnecessary.

As many of you hit the roads to go home, Georgia troopers are doing all they can to keep you safe this holiday weekend. But most of it will fall on you.

"A lot of it is people just get into to much of a hurry. Not paying attention. Following to close behind the cars in front of them," said Georgia State Patrol, Corporal David Ellis.

Troopers say drivers need to be proactive on highways and plan ahead so you won't feel rushed to go home. Planning ahead is also key when alcohol is involved. "If you are going to a party where people will be having spirits and that kind of stuff just plan ahead and have someone who can drive for you," said Ellis.

Last year eight of the 18 traffic deaths involved an alcohol or drug impaired driver, and six of the 14 fatalities in passenger cars were not wearing seat belts. 

"We deal with it like that is a driver of a vehicle, but it's also somebody's mother or brother or somebody's daddy or sister. And you just think of a loved one having to get the news," said Ellis.

Troopers are also seeing some accidents caused by mechanical failures. "People not keeping good equipment on the cars. There tires are to slick and when its wet they try to stop, but can't because there is not enough tread," said Ellis.

A problem that may get worse with the state of the economy. And it is the economy through state budget cuts that is also making it harder for the state patrol to do their job.

"We have a shortage of manpower right now, but we are trying to go out and do the best we can to enforce and do road checks and increase visibility so people maybe won't take that chance," said Ellis.

A chance that my kill you or the people driving next to you. The highest number of traffic deaths during the Christmas holiday travel period occurred in 1971 when 36 people were killed. And the lowest was in 1982 and 2002 when there were five fatalities.

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