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Sheriff's office urges highway safety during Thanksgiving holiday

SPRINGFIELD -- The Effingham County Sheriff's Office is joining the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to remind drivers and passengers before the start of the Thanksgiving holiday travel period to not risk a ticket by always remembering it to click it with their seat belt. 

The sheriff's office is  joining police departments and the Georgia State Patrol to enforce seat belt, speeding, DUI, distracted driving and all traffic laws during the extended holiday weekend with the goal of reducing traffic crashes, deaths and injuries. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that seat belts saved almost 15,000 lives in the United States last year and another 2,500 lives could have been saved had those who were killed as the result of a traffic crash been wearing a seat belt. Research shows that persons who are riding in the front seat and wearing a seat belt reduce their risk of a fatal injury in a traffic crash by 45 percent and those who buckle up in a light truck reduce their risk of a fatal injury in the event of a crash by 60 percent. 

While Georgia’s observed daytime seat belt use rate is among the highest at the country at more than 95 percent, more than half the people killed in passenger vehicle crashes in the state last year were not buckled up according to preliminary data from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

 On Wednesday, the Southeast Traffic Enforcement Network conducted a safety checkpoint with the focus on seatbelts and distracted driving. Thirty-six seatbelt citations and 14 hands-free law citations were issued. There were two arrests -- one wanted subject (stolen car) and one for possession of heroine and meth.