Georgia braces for record July Fourth travel this weekend

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 2:15 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2022 at 9:58 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - The Fourth of July weekend is almost here, and AAA is predicting a potentially record level of travel on Peach State roadways.

AAA officials predict 1.5 million Georgians will travel 50 miles or more between June 30 and July 4.

This comes as a new report found Georgia traffic fatalities surged 21 percent from 2019 to 2021, an increase blamed largely on riskier driving.

And that has officials worried about the possible death toll on Georgia highways this holiday weekend.

“It’s just uncanny, the speeds that officers are tracking. Violations at triple digits, and it’s becoming more common,” said Emerson Lundy of the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

“That uptick in speeding can contribute to people just not paying attention to the roadway. And not understanding that these greater speeds can lead to more traumatic crashes. So we just need people to be more mindful, to slow down,” Lundy said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 493 people were killed in traffic crashes during the 84-hour July 4 holiday travel period between 6 p.m. July 2 and 5:59 a.m. on July 6 in 2020. According to statistics, more than 40 % of those fatalities during the July 4 holiday weekend were alcohol-impaired crashes. Data shows 85 % of those crashes occurred at night.

Data for Georgia also shows that 90 people have been killed during the July 4 holiday travel period between 2016 and 2020. More than 30 % of those fatalities were alcohol-impaired crashes and 65 % involved drivers whose blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit in Georgia.

Georgia ranks No. 4 for the largest number of fatal accidents in the United States annually. In 2020, there were more than 330,000 crashes in Georgia. Of these, officials say 1,588 were fatal accidents with 1,730 people killed.

State troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and police officers in Georgia maintain a year-round zero-tolerance policy for drunk and drugged driving and arrest all drivers found to be over the legal blood alcohol concentration limit in Georgia of 0.08%.

To help combat drivers getting behind the wheel while impaired or distracted, AAA will be giving free tows and rides to only the driver of the vehicle for up to 10 miles beginning at 6 p.m. on July 1 until 6 a.m. on July 5. The number to call is 855-2-TOW-2-GO.

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