WEST POINT, GA (WTVM) - State agencies hosted "Get It Together for Safety" at West Point Lake on Wednesday to encourage safe travel, among other things.
The unofficial beginning of summer starts Memorial Day weekend, and law enforcement officials say whether you're traveling on the highways or waterways, doing so safely is important.
One of the event's organizer shared this safety tip.
"It's probably the first time you've got your boat out for the year- this coming weekend is the official start of summer," said LTC Jeff Weaver, assistant director for the DNR Law Enforcement Division. "So you may be a little rusty- take it slow, pay attention because operator inattention is a major contributor to accidents."
Following 2015 when Georgia saw an increase in fatalities, statewide law enforcement is looking to keep that trend from continuing into Memorial Day weekend, which is traditionally one of the busiest travel holidays of the year. In 2016, the need for safety is even greater.
Last year on the Friday going into the holiday weekend, Georgia had experienced 469 traffic deaths. While this year, Memorial Days falls one week later, the state has already reached 522 traffic fatalities as of May 19.
"We cannot emphasize enough how important buckling that seatbelt and that life jacket, and choosing to stay sober while behind the wheel of a car or boat are to the survival of you and your loved ones," DNR's Director of Law Enforcement Col. Eddie Henderson said. "It is rare that our Rangers recover a drowning victim who is wearing a life jacket and your chances of surviving a serious car crash while wearing a seatbelt are greatly increased, so choose ahead of time to be safe."
For more information on Georgia's Memorial Day safety efforts, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org or follow GOHS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GAHighwaySafety. For more information on boating laws and safety, visit http://www.gadnrle.org/.