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Public safety officers, agencies to be out in force for Memorial Day weekend
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Despite the record-high cost of gasoline across the state, the Georgia State Patrol and officers with the Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division and Capitol Police Services Unit are ready for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Col. Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday the higher cost of gasoline may keep motorists closer to home this year.

The Memorial Day holiday period ends at midnight Memorial Day. The Crash Reporting Unit of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol anticipate more than 2,300 traffic crashes across the state during the 78-hour holiday period.  

“Sadly, some of those crashes could result in fatalities,” Hitchens said.  

Estimates are for as many as 19 traffic deaths this year.

The commissioner noted that even with gasoline prices at record levels motor vehicle travel could be heavy across the state as more people stay closer to home or take shorter trips.  

“Troopers and DPS officers will be conducting roadchecks, high visibility patrols and concentrated patrol efforts throughout the state with emphasis on our secondary routes,” he said.

Last year during the Memorial Day holiday period, there were 2,062 traffic crashes reported which resulted in 1,042 injuries and 10 deaths. The number of traffic deaths last year matched 1979 for the lowest number of deaths for the Memorial Day holiday weekend since traffic stats were first recorded for the holiday in 1969.

“While last year tied the record for the lowest number of deaths for Memorial Day, we must not forget that one of the highest number of deaths in recent years occurred in 2005 when 32 people lost their life in fatal traffic crashes,” Hitchens said. “Our Georgia state troopers, motor carrier compliance and Capitol police officers will be on full patrol this holiday weekend in an effort to keep the number of crashes, injuries and deaths as low as possible.”

The Georgia State Patrol reminds motorists who spot possible impaired drivers to report them to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post by calling Star G-S-P (*477) on their cell phones.