Will slowdown in traffic bring a decline in Memorial Day crashes for CSRA?
It's the kickoff to summer. Thousands hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, the AAA says last year held saw 43 million travelers. But for the first time, the AAA wouldn't even issue a forecast.
Travel numbers are expected to hit an all-time low this year. The numbers have dropped lower than the Great Recession in 2009, with only 31 million travelers.
"You saw a big decrease in traffic, saw a decrease in calls for service a little bit, but the biggest thing was the traffic," said Columbia County Sheriff's Office Staff Sgt. Ray Childress.
As the weekend started to get underway, Childress said the roads had been quiet and so had officers' radios.
"When you don't have those, you start looking around ... What is happening? What's the reason for this?" he said.
Fewer cars on the road means fewer accidents.
In Columbia County, from March to May in 2019, there were roughly 1,300 accidents and three fatalities.
This year, that cut by 33 percent with just under 900 accidents and no deaths.
And in Richmond County, March to May in 2019 saw roughly 2000 accidents and six deaths.
This year, a 40 percent drop in accidents at 1,500 and a 50 percent drop in deaths at three.
"I just hope that everybody has had the opportunity to realize during this pandemic the importance of family," Childress said. "The same as when you're driving on the roads, keeping your family safe."
Childress also says the state will have patrol boats deployed on lakes this weekend. And the Georgia Department of Natural Resources also announced they'll be enforcing social distancing.