Authorities warn drivers to be safe during the holidays

Authorities warn drivers to be safe during the holidays

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is on a mission to cut down on road fatalities this holiday season after an unusually deadly year.

As 2015 winds down, Georgia's road fatalities are already substantially higher than last year.

"We are already 171 fatalities ahead of last year," said Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood.

Blackwood encouraged drivers not to drink and drive or speed. He also urged drivers to buckle up and put all distractions behind the wheel.

"We have seen an increase in the number of single vehicle crashes that involve distraction of one kind or another," explained Blackwood.

He also said that several accidents are happening at night.

"We've also seen a huge increase in the number of unbelted drivers, particularly at night. We know that at night over half of the people who are killed are not wearing seatbelts," continued Blackwood.

Blackwood also said that it's important to make sure your tires and wipers are in good shape, enough to withstand rainy the weather that is anticipated this week. He explained that driver safety has to be a joint effort between his agency and the community.

"We believe that with the public working with us we can keep this next few days as safe as possible for the people who use the roads in Georgia," said Blackwood.

There were more than 1,600 traffic fatalities in Georgia back in 2007. The numbers have been steadily dropping since then, until this year's uptick.

They dropped below 1,500 in 2008 and down to less than 1,200 two years ago.

The primary cause of traffic fatalities is people who aren't wearing seat belts.

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