As one of the busiest holidays of the year approaches, troopers are preparing for their “zero tolerance” weekend of patrolling.
LaGrange post commander Sgt. Maurice Raines of the Georgia State Patrol said the public should expect to see a high visibility of troopers on the interstate and roadways throughout Memorial Day weekend, beginning on Friday.
“I can assure that we will be visible everywhere,” said Raines. “This period starts the 100 days of Summer H.E.A.T where we have zero tolerance for traffic violations between May and Labor Day to combat public safety issues.”
The (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic) campaign, targets motorists and boaters under the influence and those engaging in other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, including speeding, DUI, not wearing a seat belt and reckless driving. Nearly 6,000 drunk drivers were taken off the Georgia roads during last year’s campaign.
Last year, the LaGrange post made four DUI arrests and issued 169 citations during the Memorial Day weekend. Seventeen accidents were worked by troopers in the area. There have been 12 fatalities in Troup and Harris Counties this year, up nearly 500 percent from the 20 fatalities reported for the whole year of 2012.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to get those numbers down,” he said. “The motoring public has to help us with this epidemic.”
Motorists can help reduce these numbers by becoming a defensive driver and not making bad decisions behind the wheel.
“If you know you are running late for an engagement, don’t rush or speed, just be late,” he said. “Don’t take any chances. Waiting two more seconds to pull out could be the difference of an accident.”
Raines also encourages drivers not to text while driving, to follow the “three second rule” when following behind another car and to call 911 if an aggressive driver is seen.
Random road blocks will be set up throughout the county to check for violations, he said.
“Our troopers will be looking for impaired drivers, following too closely, failure to yield the right of way, and we’ve started our click or ticket campaign.” said Raines. “If they don’t click they will get a ticket
This also includes improper seat belt usage, and even on interstates troopers can spot seat belt usage, he said.
Some will be visiting the lakes and traveling out of town for the holiday, and driving and boating under the influence will be strictly enforced.
He suggested that those that are taking a long trip to check vehicles for enough gas, fluids, proper tires and functioning blinker and lights.
“We want everyone to have a safe Memorial Day,” said Raines. “I’m grateful that the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, all police departments and DNR will be working traffic enforcement to make everything safe during the holiday.”