The Memorial Day holiday period began at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at midnight Memorial Day. The Crash Reporting Unit of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Georgia State Patrol anticipate more than 2,300 traffic crashes across the state during the 78-hour holiday period. Estimates are for as many as 19 traffic deaths this year. Last year during the Memorial Day holiday period, there were 2,062 traffic crashes reported which resulted in 1,042 injuries and 10 deaths. The number of traffic deaths last year matched 1979 for the lowest number of deaths for the Memorial Day holiday weekend since traffic stats were first recorded for the holiday in 1969. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday the higher cost of gasoline may keep motorists closer to home this year. Colonel Hitchens said troopers will be concentrating on the secondary roads as well as the interstate system. He noted that the majority of the fatal crashes each year occur on state highways, county roads and city streets. Troopers and officers will be concentrating on seat belt and child restraint violations in addition to drivers operating motor vehicles under the influence. Colonel Hitchens reminds all drivers to buckle up this holiday weekend and remember to use a designated driver if the consumption of alcoholic beverages will be in your plans.