SAVANNAH, Ga. – According to AAA, nearly 35 million people are expected to hit the road for the 2017 Memorial Day Weekend.
With an expected increase in traffic, local law enforcement is stepping up its presence to do its part in keeping the public safe this weekend.
“We consider it the 100 deadly days of summer,” South Carolina Highway Patrol’s Lance Corporal Matt Southern said.
Memorial Day is considered by many to be the kick-off to the summer season but for state and local police, it means an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities.
“We’re going to be out making sure that folks are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Southern said.
Even though people are reminded year after year by law enforcement and media not to drink and drive, text and drive, boat and drive, etc., Southern says people get ‘complacent’ and continue to make choices that can lead to serious consequences.
In 2016, according to Southern and the Georgia Department of Transportation, more than 20 people died during road crashes in Georgia and South Carolina during Memorial Day Weekend. So far more than 800 people have died on the road in the two states.
“We’d like for everybody to have their undivided attention to their driving and concentrate on driving not having any distraction in the vehicle whether it be animals or computers or the radio,” Savannah Chatham Metro Police Lieutenant Anthony Gallo said.
Both Southern and Gallo ask driver to put down the cellphones and focus on the responsibility of driving.
“That text can wait, folks, pull over to the side of the road and sent that text as you’re sitting still,” Southern said.
Equally as dangerous is drinking while driving, which depending on the state can have serious repercussions to drivers and strangers.
“First offense can range from about a thousand dollars up to almost $2,300. That is dependent on your blood alcohol concentration. Second and subsequent offenses can actually put you in prison,” Southern said of South Carolina law.
SCHP is bringing back its “Highways of Dieways” safety campaign to remind people it’s a personal choice to drive safety both for your sake and the people around you.
Gallo stressed that if anyone sees anything suspicious or reckless while driving to inform the police immediately.