ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Law enforcement officials have a warning for those drivers this weekend. Officials say there have been too many fatalities this year on Georgia roads, and that includes right here in Albany.
It's been a tragic year for travelers on the roads, with 1,486 deaths in the state. Within Albany's city limits there have been eight total deaths. Three involved folks in the car, and five were pedestrians.
"We want you to go out, have some fun and then get home safely so we can actually see you during the new year," said Lieutenant William Dowdell Albany Police Department. "Even one life here is just way too many."
Law enforcement want the number of road fatalities to drop significantly in 2017, starting this weekend. "Hopefully this year we will have a big goose egg with fatalities," said Captain Ken Faust Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.
Both the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office and the Albany Police Department will be cracking down this weekend. "It's a heightened awareness and presence that we want to be out and say hey we are serious about it. We want you to go have fun but we want you to do it safely," said Dowdell.
Albany Police officers will be patrolling main roads like Slappey and Dawson as well as many of the side roads to make their existence known.
"We are going to be in different places at random times so they will actually do more safe driving and practice safe precautions," said Dowdell.
Officials suggest finding a designated driver before your night begins. If you are driving, they ask that you stay off your phones, and take your time on the roads.
"Be defensive, driving. Watch out for the other motorists on the highways. Use your turn signals, tell other folks where you are going," said Faust.
They say seat belts are a must. Of all the fatalities this year in the state roughly 650 of them weren't wearing seat belts. In the end, officials say it's you and your decisions this weekend that will save your life.
"We can do all the enforcement in the world, we can do all the details, we can even tell you where we are going to be at, but the person behind the wheel of that car is still going to be the one to make the decision on whether or not they want to continue their activity or change their activity," said Faust.
If at the end of the night you need a driver, there are cab companies available. Officials say the price of a cab home doesn't come close to the price of your life.
Also with five pedestrians killed in Albany during this year, police are also warning people to be extra careful while walking home from celebrations.
Officials urge you to make sure to wear light colored clothing at night. It is also suggested to walk where traffic can see you, only cross the road at crosswalks, and to stay off the actual road.
"If you have a sidewalk, by all means, walk on the sidewalk. If not, walk on the shoulder of the road. Don't actually walk in the roadway. I know you're going to buy new tennis shoes, you're going to have good shoes on, good clothing on. The ground may be wet, but it's more beneficial to get that little bit of grass on your shoes than it is to get struck by a vehicle," said Albany Police Dept. Lieutenant William Dowdell.
Police also say not to dart across the road without a cross walk because at night, it can be hard to gauge how fast a car may be going.