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Local law enforcement agencies stress safe travel to save lives

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 4:15 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A nine-car pileup. A tractor-trailer driver killed. A pedestrian killed. And another driver dying on our local roadways, too.

These were all separate crashes in a matter of days, and our local law enforcement were out Wednesday aiming to reduce the number of accidents that could unfold this holiday weekend.

One fatality is one too many in their eyes.

Not just one, but three traffic deaths have happened along highway areas across the CSRA this week alone. And deputies were having to inform families of their permanent loss.

“We are human and so for us, to have to go to a loved one and say ‘Hey, your loved one may or may not be coming home tonight ... it takes a toll on us whenever we’re responding to those accidents,” Burke County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Randall Norman said.

Officials tell us there are more than 1,200 traffic-related deaths this year in Georgia alone. And across the border, South Carolina saw about 900 deaths.

And these numbers typically peak around the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s why today, the roadwork stopped, and the road checks started.

Norman says because of the void social distance has caused families throughout the year, they still expect more people might hit the roads to see the family they’ve been missing.

“We will be aggressively out on the roadways, proactively patrolling,” he said.

Nationwide, officials estimate 50 million people will travel for Thanksgiving.

But the captain says this:

“No text message, no phone call, no dinner, no running a red light and trying to make it anywhere on time, is worth anyone’s life,” he said.

Deputies on both sides of the river out issuing different types of warnings and citations today, from speeding to distracted driving to not wearing a seat belt.

But they say, so far at least through Wednesday, the local crash and traffic ticket totals had been promising.

And Norman adds, just because there are more people on the roads, that doesn’t mean there have to be more problems on them.

“They haven’t increased over the numbers we’ve had this time last year and that’s something that we’re proud of. We’d like to ensure that it doesn’t rise,” he said.

For the rest of the week, deputies will be out doing those proactive patrols. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies across the state are sending a message to all drivers: click it or ticket, remain alert, and possibly save a life.

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