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The Georgia State Patrol, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, GOHS Traffic Enforcement Networks, and GOHS H.E.A.T. units remind everyone to avoid getting a ticket during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend by remembering to click their seat belt before every trip.

State troopers and local law enforcement officers will be working throughout the extended holiday weekend to save lives and prevent crashes by enforcing speeding, DUI, hands-free, seat belt and all traffic safety laws during the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend, ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28.

Wearing a seat belt offers the best protection in the event of a traffic crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, eight out of 10 people (81%) riding in passenger vehicles who were ejected in a crash in the United States in 2019 were killed.

The risk of a fatal injury in a crash to a person riding in the front seat of a passenger car goes down by 45 percent when that person is wearing a seat belt, and the risk is reduced by 60 percent for those who are riding in the front seat of a light truck.

“With so many vehicles expected on the road, it is important for drivers to pack their patience by obeying the speed limit, wearing their seat belt, and making sure all children under eight are riding in an approved child safety seat,” Allen Poole, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said. “Instead of spending the holiday with their families, Georgia law enforcement officers will be enforcing traffic laws with the goal to make sure you and your family can safely reach your destination.”

The safety message from state and local law enforcement officers for the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday travel period comes after the Georgia State Patrol reported 24 people were killed in traffic crashes during the 102-hour holiday weekend in 2020. Ten of the 23 people riding in passenger vehicles who died in Georgia last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period were not wearing seat belts.

According to NHTSA, 54 percent of the 279 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in crashes during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday travel period in the United States were not wearing seat belts.

The data also shows that over the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend, 52 percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes at night were unbuckled, compared to 42 percent during the day.

“As we approach this special time of year, many people will be traveling on our roadways to visit their families, friends, and loved ones for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” Colonel Chris Wright, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety said. “State Troopers and M.C.C.D. officers will be concentrating on occupant protection during these holiday periods as well as distracted driving violations and impaired drivers. So far this year, approximately 58 percent of fatality victims have not been wearing seat belts. Increase the chances of occupants in your vehicle surviving a traffic crash by making sure everyone is wearing their seat belt and children are properly restrained in the appropriate child or booster seat. Buckle up! Every Trip, Every Time!”

State troopers and local law enforcement officers also remind everyone to not get behind the wheel if they have been drinking. Thanksgiving Eve is a popular time for friends and family to visit, and many of these gatherings include alcohol. According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 32 people were killed in crashes in Georgia from 2015-19 on Thanksgiving Eve and in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving. Nine of those people died in crashes involving a driver whose blood-alcohol content (BAC) was higher than the .08 legal limit in Georgia.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, state troopers, and local law enforcement officers remind everyone to plan for a sober ride home when alcohol is part of the plan. Whether it is a family member or friend, make sure anyone whose BAC level is above the legal limit of .08 does not get behind the wheel.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Georgia Department of Public Safety, GOHS Traffic Enforcement Networks, and GOHS H.E.A.T. units offer the following safety tips for those who will be traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday period.

♦ Allow extra time for your trip due to the increase in traffic on the road.

♦ Do not try to make up time by speeding. Better to arrive late than not at all.

♦ Buckle up before starting your vehicle.

♦ Program all navigation devices before getting on the road.

♦ Take a break or switch drivers if feeling tired.

♦ NEVER get a behind the wheel after drinking or taking medication that will impair your ability to operate a vehicle.

For more information about the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety or Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit gahighwaysafety.org or georgiagrown.com. Follow the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest highway safety information.

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