GSP hits the road for New Year's
by Mark Andrews
Dec 29, 2012 | 1577 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Georgia State Patrol is gearing up for the New Year’s holiday and will be looking for impaired drivers.

“We’re going to be paying attention to seatbelts and drunk drivers, but we’re also going to be enforcing all the traffic laws as usual,” Corp. Brian Blankenship with the Cartersville GSP Post said. “We had quite a few DUI arrests over the [Christmas] period.”

He added, “We’re going to have every trooper available out working ... and being highly visible. We want to keep the motorists and public as safe as we can.”

According to a press release from GSP, “During the [2011] New Year’s holiday period, troopers investigated 296 traffic crashes in Georgia that resulted in 172 injuries and 7 traffic deaths. During New Year’s holiday period patrols, 262 people were arrested for driving under the influence.”

The New Year’s holiday period began Friday and will end Tuesday night.

“Each holiday period, troopers are called to investigate traffic crashes involving serious injuries or fatalities, and these crashes could have been prevented,” Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said in a press release.

In the press release, McDonough reminds drivers to plan their travels carefully and make sure your vehicle is ready for a long trip by checking the pressure in the tires; making sure the windshield wiper blades are not cracked; checking that all headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and tag lights are working; and checking the vehicle’s fluid levels.

“Before leaving on the trip, make sure everyone is properly restrained, take frequent rest stops along the way, and don’t speed,” he said.

There were 685 crashes and 17 deaths statewide over the recent Christmas holiday.

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens urges parents to protect their children — and themselves — from the dangers of fireworks during the New Year’s holiday.

The sale and individual use of any type of firework, except certain kinds of sparklers, is illegal in Georgia. The penalties are a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail. Professional fireworks displays are permitted provided they are licensed through the local judge of probate court.

The law states that the definition of prohibited fireworks shall not include: “Wire or wood sparklers of 100 grams or less of mixture per item; other sparkling items which are non-explosive and nonaerial and contain 75 grams or less of chemical compound per tube or a total of 200 grams or less for multiple tubes; snake and glow worms; trick noise makers which include paper streamers, party poppers, string poppers, snappers, and drop pops each consisting of 0.25 grains or less of explosive mixture.”

The commissioner said sparklers are legal in Georgia, but should be used properly and with adult supervision.

“According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 8,600 people for fireworks related injuries,” Hudgens said in a press release. “The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-14.”

Remind children that if they find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them, and immediately contact the local fire department.

“It’s traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks,” Hudgens said. “I encourage our citizens to enjoy them safely by watching a professional display as they mark the arrival of 2012.”