The Georgia State Patrol is predicting that 18 people will die on Georgia roads during the 78-hour Christmas travel period of 6 p.m. Dec. 24 to midnight Dec. 27.

There will be an estimated 2,226 crashes with 976 injuries, the GSP predicts.

During the 78-hour New Year’s holiday travel period starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 and ending at midnight Jan. 3, 16 fatalities and 1,004 injuries are expected in 2,330 crashes.

Last year during the Christmas holiday travel period, Georgia recorded 24 traffic deaths during a 102-hour period. There were 1,261 injuries and 2,783 crashes reported. During the 102-hour New Year’s holiday period, there were 2,998 traffic crashes resulting in 1,222 injuries and 22 traffic deaths.

“Now through the first weekend of the new year is when troopers see an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads and an increase in the number of impaired drivers as well,” said Col. Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “Stepped up patrols will be conducted in an effort to keep the number of traffic crashes as low as possible.”

The highest number of Christmas holiday period traffic deaths occurred in 1971 when 36 people were killed and the lowest occurred in 1982 and 2002 with five deaths reported. For New Year’s, the highest occurred in 1981 and 1987 with 23 deaths and the lowest occurred in 1947 and 1958 when Georgia recorded only three deaths.

Calhoun Times