CHEROKEE — Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputies will be checking for impaired drivers and seat belt violations this weekend at various safety check points.
Lt. Howard Baker, spokesman for the department, said last Memorial Day there were six accidents in Cherokee and stressed drivers should be aware of other motorists this weekend.
“If celebrating the Memorial Day weekend with alcohol, please get someone else to drive,” Baker said. “The No. 1 safety tip I can recommend is to always wear your seatbelt.”
The Memorial Day holiday travel period began Friday at 6 p.m. and ends Memorial Day at midnight. Col. Mark McDonough with the Georgia Department of Public Safety said Georgia State Troopers will be conducting road checks and patrolling not only interstates, but also secondary roads during the weekend.
Last Memorial Day weekend, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 326 crashes with 276 injuries and six fatalities. Statewide, law enforcement officers reported 16 traffic deaths during the 2012 Memorial Day holiday period. Last year, troopers arrested 301 people on driving under the influence charges, issued 6,621 citations and gave 9,321 warnings.
“Drunk driving is dangerous and not worth the risk of killing yourself or someone else,” McDonough said. “Remember the purpose and celebrate during the holiday period responsibly. Always keep safety at the forefront of everything you will do.”
Those who drive under the influence for a first offense may face up to one year in jail, a fine between $300 and $1,000, up to a year of license suspension, 40 hours of community service and a $210 license reinstatement fee. Repeat offenders will face the possibility of harsher punishments.
The GSP warns drivers that traffic will be heavier than normal because of graduations, festivals and people traveling to and from vacations.
Drivers should be aware that Cherokee County high school graduations may cause traffic in Woodstock on Saturday. The Creekview High School graduation starts Saturday at 9 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock off Highway 92, and the Cherokee High School graduation starts at 1 p.m.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is also participating in the annual nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign, which will be enforced through June 2. Each year during the Memorial Day holiday period, law enforcement agencies and Georgia work together to strongly enforce seatbelt laws.