Holiday weekend signals increase in police patrols
by Michelle Babcock
August 29, 2014 12:40 AM | 3436 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local and state law enforcement agencies plan to have a strong presence during this weekend’s 78-hour Labor Day holiday travel period.

Lt. Jay Baker said the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit will be out in force throughout the weekend, looking for impaired drivers.

“We strongly urge motorists not to drive while impaired, always wear their seat belts and to be aware of other motorists,” he said.

Baker added the Sheriff’s Office “would also like to remind people that will be spending time on Lake Allatoona to use caution while on the water, and to not operate a boat while impaired.”

The Labor Day holiday period begins tonight at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight on Labor Day. The Georgia State Patrol will also be on the lookout for individuals driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Labor Day weekend is “the unofficial end of summer and one of the heaviest traveled holiday periods of the year,” said Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

“Our goal is to make holiday travel as safe as possible,” McDonough said. “Troopers will be on concentrated and high visibility patrols, watching for those who are driving impaired or distracted, not wearing seat belts and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a traffic crash.”

McDonough said troopers will be conducting road checks across the state this weekend, targeting impaired drivers.

“Troopers and officers will not hesitate to arrest an impaired driver and tow the vehicle. Choose a designated driver before the celebration begins,” he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offered safety tips for those who plan to spend time on Georgia waterways this weekend.

Lance Davis said it’s important to make sure everyone who will be swimming or on a boat has a life jacket.

“Please make sure everyone wears them,” Davis said, adding nine of 10 people who have died on waterways didn’t wear a life jacket.

Davis said it’s also important to only swim at designated areas, and to keep a close watch on children and stay nearby, because “a child can drown in 20 seconds.”

He said many swimmers get into trouble by trying to swim after an object floating away, but Davis warned this can end badly.

“It’s not worth dying for to swim after the object. Let it go or put on a properly fitted life jacket and then retrieve the item,” he said.

Last year during the Labor Day holiday weekend, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported no swimming or boating deaths in Cherokee County.

Last Labor Day holiday, Cherokee County made it through the busy weekend with no fatalities on local roads or waterways.

In 2013 as well, during the holiday, the Sheriff’s Office responded to 18 accidents and made three DUI arrests, Baker said last year, but there were no life-threatening injuries.

Georgia State Patrol officials said troopers investigated four crashes in Cherokee last Labor Day holiday period, with three injuries and no fatalities. Troopers also issued 29 citations, 52 warnings and made one DUI arrest in Cherokee over the Labor Day holiday in 2013, reports show.

The last time a fatality happened in Cherokee over the Labor Day holiday was in 2011, reports show.

Statewide, during last year’s holiday period, troopers investigated a total of 650 crashes resulting in 338 injuries and 10 fatalities, and made 283 DUI arrests.

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