GA roadway deaths during holiday season surpass 2016, officials speak on New Years weekend

The Georgia State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies say they will have increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints during the extended New Years holiday weekend and will take all impaired drivers to jail. No warnings or exceptions.

“There are too many rides services and things that can get you home safely. You know how you’re going to get to the party. You know what you’re going to take there. Know how you’re going to get home,” says Harris Blackwood, with the Governors Office of Highway Safety.

Georgia troopers say they investigated over 500 crashes over the holiday period and more than 7,000 citations were issued. The focus is on drinking and driving for New Years, but there are other dangerous distractions that concern drivers.

"Texting while driving is almost as bad if not worse than drinking and driving. If you’re out texting and combine it with alcohol, then you really have a problem. If you’re going to drink and drive or text and drive stay off the roadways. It’s not worth it to the other people,” warned Lisa Holloway, who is a holiday traveler.

The numbers for those who died this holiday season are five more than the eight people who lost their lives last year during the Christmas holiday. The travel period began on Friday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. and ends Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 11:59 p.m. Officials say driving safe during the upcoming New Years holiday is a gift in itself.

“We know that this will be a busy time. There’ll be a lot of people coming through Georgia and going in Georgia and we want people to get to where they’re going and to come back safely The best gift you can give yourself this holiday is to be alive when the new year starts and that means a lot to a lot of people."

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