GSP steps up motorcycle safety with checkpoints

(ATLANTA) - The Georgia Department of Public Safety will be conducting six motorcycle checkpoints from March 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2012.

The effort is part of a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to collect data over the next two years to improve motorcycle safety, according to the DPS.

Lt. Colonel Mark McDonough, DPS deputy commissioner, said in a statement that the goal of the checkpoints is to reduce the number of crashes involving motorcyclists that result in injuries and fatalities.

The number of fatal crashes from 2005 to 2008 in Georgia surged as the number of motorcycles registered in the state hit and all-time high, according to the DPS.

Data show there were 167 motorcycle operators or passengers killed in crashes in 2008. So far in 2011, there have been six motorcycle fatalities.

The first checkpoint for 2011 will be conducted from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. March 9 along Interstate 75 at the Southbound Commercial Vehicle Inspection Station in Monroe County.  Another checkpoint will running at the same time at the Southbound Commercial Vehicle Inspection Station along Interstate 95 in Chatham County, just north of Savannah.

Signs will direct motorcyclists to exit the interstate at the inspection stations where troopers or officers will check that the operator has the proper class of license for the vehicle, a valid tag, a federal DOT-approved motorcycle helmet, and that the operator is not under the influence of alcohol, according to McDonough.

The other checkpoints will be held in the spring and fall this year.

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