(ATLANTA) To highlight the importance of safe driving and boating as the unofficial start of summer draws near, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is once again partnering with the Department of Natural Resources and Georgia State Patrol to add a special message to its traditional, Memorial Day Click It or Ticket campaign.
This year, boaters and motorists alike will be asked to “Get Together For Summer,” an effort to ensure those on the water are buckled up in their life jackets and those on the road are buckled in their seatbelts…and that both are sober behind either wheel.
Following a 2015 when Georgia saw an increase in fatalities, statewide law enforcement is looking to keep that trend from continuing into Memorial Day weekend, which is traditionally one of the busiest travel holidays of the year. In 2016, the need for safety is even greater. Last year on the Friday going into the holiday weekend, Georgia had experienced 469 traffic deaths. And while this year, Memorial Days falls one week later, the state has already reached 522 traffic fatalities as of May 19.
“We cannot emphasize enough how important buckling that seatbelt and that life jacket, and choosing to stay sober while behind the wheel of a car or boat are to the survival of you and your loved ones,” DNR’s Director of Law Enforcement Col. Eddie Henderson said. “It is rare that our Rangers recover a drowning victim who is wearing a life jacket and your chances of surviving a serious car crash while wearing a seatbelt are greatly increased, so choose ahead of time to be safe.”
To highlight this year’s commitment to summer safety, GOHS will be joining the state patrol and DNR at four popular boating destinations throughout the state to remind those behind the wheel on land and water to buckle up and drive sober. The agencies will conduct a daylong media tour to West Point Lake, Lake Blackshear, Lake Hartwell and Lake Allatoona.
“Keep safety a priority this summer as you get together with family and friends,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark W. McDonough said. “Whether you are on the road or on the water, remember all Georgia safety laws and make sure to properly secure children in safety seats and life jackets. Just like driving a motor vehicle, it is illegal to operate a boat under the influence. If you see an impaired driver, do not hesitate to call 911.”
“While it can’t be said for sure that a properly buckled seatbelt could’ve prevented every unbuckled crash death last year,” it’s certainly a fact that seatbelts help keep motorists and their passengers safe just like personal flotation devices keep boaters and their passengers safe,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “We are especially grateful this year to once again join with our partners at DNR and the state patrol to make sure people are safe and sober behind the wheel…any wheel.”
DNR will be joining its fellow law enforcement agencies in the multi-jurisdictional enforcement campaign designed to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways and many lakes and rivers statewide. This year, a number of other partner groups will be assisting in “Get Together for Summer” activities, including Uber, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and Georgia Power.
For more information on Georgia’s Memorial Day safety efforts, visitwww.gahighwaysafety.org or follow GOHS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/