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Ga., S.C. troopers are out on roads as travel roars back

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 12:41 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - With Thanksgiving travel expected to be back or at pre-pandemic levels in Georgia and South Carolina, troopers will be out over the next few days to make sure travelers follow the law.

Master Trooper Brian Lee with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said Thanksgiving is one of the state’s busiest holidays, and troopers aren’t taking chances with your safety.

“We’re going to have everybody out working. We’ve got everybody signed up. Even if they weren’t on the schedule, they’re going to be there. We’ll have people on the roads and extra people on the roads,” Lee said.

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AAA predicts nearly 1.6 million Georgians will travel for Thanksgiving, including 1.5 million by car, 108,567 by air and 18,219 by other means.

More than 750,000 people in South Carolina will travel, a 13% increase from 2020 and just 2 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

Also out on the road will be troopers in both South Carolina and Georgia.

“We’ll have a lot of safety checkpoints, license checks, we’re going to make sure if people are out traveling to a relative’s house if they’ve been drinking, that they have a designated driver,” Lee said.

Across the river in Georgia, troopers will be watching for speeding, distracted driving, following too closely and driving while impaired.

“Our primary focus is to make the roadways safer this holiday period for our residents and guests,” said Col. Chris C. Wright, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

During last year’s Thanksgiving travel period, Georgia troopers investigated 659 crashes resulting in 370 injuries and 24 deaths. Troopers and officers arrested more than 290 people for driving under the influence while issuing 11,400 citations and nearly 13,400 warnings.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol — with jurisdiction over a wider range of roadways than its counterpart in Georgia — reported more than 1,300 accidents last Thanksgiving. Most were caused by speeding in bad weather conditions, failure to yield right of way and driving under the influence. Last year, the holiday weekend led to 14 traffic-related deaths.

Wright’s tips for a safe trip include making sure your car is ready for the road, traveling with patience, obeying the speed limit, using seat belts and not driving while distracted or impaired.

Lee also has a few words of advice.

“Anticipate the traffic is going to be heavy, make sure you have time to get to your destination, make sure you have plenty of rest, share the driving responsibilities with other people in your car and make sure you get there and get home safely,” Lee said

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and WMBF