CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Thursday is New Year's Eve, a time of celebration as we usher in the new year, and there will be a huge effort to protect the roads that will be crowded with partiers out for a good time.
Police in jurisdictions all over the Coastal Empire will be stepping up their efforts over the next days to keep you and your family safe while on the road. Increased patrols and safety checkpoints are just a few things you can expect to see from area law enforcement on New Year's Eve and Day, as the celebrations begin.
Georgia State Patrol Trooper Sergeant Eric Wilkes says 2015 has already seen its fair share of tragedy.
"We have 206 more fatalities this day than we did last year. Last year, 2014, the New Year's holiday, we lost 10 people and 318 were injured," said Sgt. Wilkes. "Many of them were impaired, many of them were unrestrained. So we're out here to target those kinds of violations, target people that are impaired, target people who are unrestrained and also people that are distracted. Texting and driving, and really anything that can distract you from the road."
The sergeant says GSP looks at data from previous years, to make sure they're in the hotspots for those various violations.
"We're going to be out here looking. We're going to tailor our shifts where we're in the most appropriate time frame and most appropriate locations to intercept those drivers. And if we see it, we're going to take action against it, and you're going to go to jail," said Sgt. Wilkes.
Whether it's a safety checkpoint, or getting you to slow down, the Georgia State Patrol and other agencies say they do it to make sure you and your family travel safely and make it home alive.
"Anything we do is going to be to try and keep people safe, to target impaired drivers, distracted drivers, and people who are not restrained in their vehicles," said Sgt. Wilkes.
According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, alcohol-related crash deaths still account for 25 percent of all traffic fatalities in Georgia.