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Holiday roads deadly for 19

Editorial

The numbers are in from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and fatalities were about the same as the year before.

On Monday, Department of Public Safety spokesman Gody Wright said there were 19 fatal crashes on Georgia roadways during the 102-hour holiday period that started 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving eve and ended at midnight Sunday.

The Georgia State Patrol worked 622 traffic wrecks over the four days, which saw another 263 people injured. Of the 11 traffic deaths investigated by GSP troopers, four were suspected of having alcohol consumption as a contributing factor.

That was one more fatality than for the four-day Thanksgiving holiday period in 2011. The Department of Public Safety says that last year 18 people lost their lives on Georgia roadways. Troopers investigated 466 wrecks — much lower than the number they were called to this year — though there were more injuries at 303. Also like this year, of the 13 fatalities troopers investigated over the 2011 Thanksgiving holidays, four involved alcohol consumption as a contributing factor.

Totals from other agencies weren’t available yet, but given what we do know, they’ll probably be close to last year’s figures when all law enforcement agencies, including GSP, 2,527 wrecks that resulted in 979 injuries.

All this same despite concerted efforts on the parts of state and local law enforcement to prevent it. And at least those that involved drinking were just that — preventable — had the drivers been more responsible.

We can take some comfort in knowing that the highway deaths were nowhere near the record of 43 that was set in 1969, but it’s sad that what should be a happy time of the year has been a terrible one for family and friends of those who lost their lives over the weekend.

Georgia hasn’t had a fatality-free Thanksgiving period since the state started keeping these records, but we did reach a low mark of four in 1949.

That’s a record we would be most thankful to break in 2013.

— The Albany Herald Editorial Board