COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Taking the wheel is turning deadly for more and more drivers as traffic fatalities are on the rise, according to the latest statistics from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Officials are pushing seat belts and sober drivers with the holiday weekend coming up. Troopers in both Georgia and Alabama expect a lot of travelers to hit the road this weekend, and with some troubling statistics, it's important to be extra cautious behind the wheel.
Alabama and Georgia officials plan on stepping up patrol this weekend to crack down on drunk drivers, and hopefully save some lives.
"Troopers see loss of life on a daily basis, we want to drive home the fact that life is precious.," said Sgt. Steve Jarrett with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
Alabama troopers responded to 237 crashes that resulted in 10 fatalities over the 2014 Fourth of July holiday weekend. Georgia State Patrol investigated 414 crashes, that resulted in 250 injuries and 5 fatalities during the same period.
"We are expecting this to be a more festive holiday and some people may engage in the consumption of alcohol," said Sgt. Jarrett.
Officials are planning increased crack downs on DUI's and added check points. Officers encourage everyone to wear a seat belt and avoid distractions like texting and cell phone use to ensure their holiday travels bring them back home safe and sound.
The latest numbers from the Georgia DOT show that fatalities have increased from 538 last year by this time, to 620 from January to the end of June 2015, showing the importance of being vigilant on the road all the time, not just this weekend.