ALBANY, GA (WALB) - 1427 people died on Georgia roads last year, a 22 percent increase over the previous year. That was the second highest increase in the country. We're on a similar pace this year, but officers throughout South Georgia are working to keep those numbers down.
July 4th weekend is a time to celebrate the nation's independence with fireworks and cookouts.
But there will also be a lot of traffic. Albany Police Patrolman Rogelio Diaz says the greatest danger doesn't necessarily come from drunk drivers.
"The number one thing that is causing a lot of these accidents is distracted driving," he said. "That includes people on their cellphone and not paying attention to what's in front of them on the road."
Nearly 700 people have been killed on Georgia roads so far this year. Officer Diaz says have your fun this July 4th weekend, but plan ahead.
"Everyone wants to enjoy the holiday, if you do imbibe in alcoholic beverages make sure you have a designated driver," said officer Diaz. "Also when you're out on the roads be on the lookout for those people, and minimize the distractions you have. Put your cellphone down while you're driving."
The Snipes family is taking a road trip to the beach in Florida. Steven will do most of the driving and will make sure to keep his family in one piece.
"We're going to take our time and get there safe," insisted Snipes. "Use our seat belts. (There's) a lot of traffic on the road, just pay attention to the other drivers."
"Any holiday weekend you're going to have a mass influx of traffic, the roads are going to be clogged," said officer Diaz. "Wherever you're going whether it's out of town or in town, just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination."
Deaths on the road are at the highest rates since 2008. In response officers are cracking down on drunk drivers with a Drive Sober Campaign. Snipes is well-aware the decisions he makes this weekend can ensure a fun, safe weekend.
"Obviously not drinking and driving," Snipes said. "And just paying attention to all those drivers out there trying to figure out which drivers are impaired."