Georgia State Patrol steps up traffic enforcement for holiday travelers

CONYERS — With the holidays approaching, more people will be on the roads, and the Georgia State Patrol will be ramping up enforcement efforts to make sure drivers are licensed, insured and sober.

“We will step up our patrols on travel days — those days before and after the holidays,” said Cpl. Jeremiah Slayton, who is stationed at Post 46 in Monroe. “Generally those are the biggest travel days because people are traveling to and from their destination.”

Specifically, the GSP will be focusing on speeding, safety restraints and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Slayton said that over the holiday period, the State Patrol will lower its threshold for speeders and will pull over drivers who are traveling as little as 1 to 14 miles over the posted speed limit.

“The reason is that we’ve seen that as years have gone by that a lot of traffic-related crashes are due to speed, and we want to show that actual speed limit is just that — a limit,” he said. “We are just trying to reduce the number of crashes and the injuries involved related to speed. The faster you go, the more violent the injuries.”

At the same time, troopers will be making sure that drivers and passengers are wearing proper safety restraints. He said all front-seat passengers must wear seat belts. Drivers can be cited for passengers under the age of 18 who are not wearing safety restraints.

Children must also be properly restrained. Children under the age of 8 must be in either a booster seat or five-point harnessed car seat. Infants under the age of 1 should be restrained in a rear-facing infant carrier.

All GSP troopers are child safety seat technicians, and the GSP plans to host some events soon to demonstrate the proper way to install car seats.

Throughout the holidays, troopers will conduct a series of road checks to check not only for valid drivers licenses and insurance, but also to make sure drivers are not impaired by drugs or alcohol.

“We’ve seen an increase in crashes where people are driving under the influence, not just of alcohol, but prescription and illegal drugs,” Slayton said. “Even though someone may be taking medicine prescribed by their physician, they may not realize they can still get a DUI charge. … It all falls back on common sense to a certain extent.”

Slayton said that while enforcement efforts will be increased over the holidays, troopers will be patrolling the roads and highways for drivers who need assistance.

“We’re not only here for enforcement, but also for public safety, so we will be checking for stranded motorists on interstates, state routes and local roadways,” he said.