Posted on Dec 30, 2011
During the 78-hour travel weekend that began on Friday, Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. through Monday, Dec. 26 at midnight, there were four fatalities statewide over the Christmas holiday weekend, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
The fatalities over the weekend included two from Cobb County Police, one from Atlanta Police and one from the GSP Post in Washington, a city in Wilkes County, about two and a half hours east of Roswell.
Roswell Police Department performed nine stops for DUI over Christmas weekend, but there were no fatalities.
Last year during the Christmas holiday period the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) reported 351 crashes, 280 injuries and three fatalities. Statewide in 2010, with all agencies reporting, there were three fatalities, 641 crashes and 387 injuries reported.
But there is good news. According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Georgia Department of Transportation last week, 2010 marked the fifth consecutive year that fatalities on Georgia highways were down.
As of Monday, Dec. 19, statistics indicate that the trend also continued in 2011 with Georgia registering 62 less fatalities than for the same period last year.
Officials announced that traffic fatalities dropped substantially in 2010 with a total of 1,244 highway deaths occurring in Georgia, according to statistics finalized and published this month. This is a decline of 3.7 percent (48 deaths) from 2009’s 1,292 total and continues the downward trend that began in 2006. Traffic fatalities on Georgia roads last year were down by 500 individuals from the record 1,744 deaths that occurred in 2005. 
“While we wish no one was ever even injured on our highways, we are most gratified by this decline in fatalities,” Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden said in a press release. “This dramatic improvement is a direct result of the Department’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan begun in 2006."
That plan features data-driven emphasis areas focused on such things as affordable engineering solutions, enforcement, motorcycle safety, seat belt use and impaired driving.
“We’re concentrating on raising public awareness and also on engineering and construction improvements – things like improved roadway drainage, center median cable barriers, rumble strips, and driver recovery zones.  They are making a difference and saving lives,” Golden said.
Every day, hundreds of GDOT employees and contractors work on the state’s network of roads and bridges, often bringing them and heavy machinery in close proximity to travel lanes. Fifty-seven Georgia DOT personnel and many more motorists, passengers and contractors’ workers have been killed in highway work zone accidents since 1973. 
GDOT officials ask that the public help prevent future such tragedies by slowing down, driving responsibly and being especially attentive and cautious when driving through construction zones.
Shane Smith
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