Millions are expected to be on the road this Memorial Day weekend. In fact it’s the highest number of drivers for the holiday since 2005.
As that number goes up so does the number of driver fatalities in both South Carolina and Georgia.
Traffic deaths in Georgia are up 25 percent compared to last year. That means if this trend continues, 100 people will die every month from a traffic related incident, totaling 1,200 by the end of the year.
With more people on the road for this holiday, law enforcement will be out in full force. Triple A projects more than 37 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their home for Memorial Day Weekend.
“You see us before every holiday we crack down and we’re out in force we’ll continue doing that all summer Memorial Day, Fourth of July,” Captain Allen Marlow, with Georgia Highway Patrol said.
With traffic related deaths up 25 percent, Georgia DOT is urging drivers to Drive Alert, Arrive Alive. Their new campaign prompting drivers to wear their seatbelts, stay off the phone and focus on driving.
Georgia isn’t the only state with an increase in roadway deaths. As of May 17, 327 people have died on South Carolina highways, this compared to 282 highway deaths during the same time period in 2014.
A spokesperson with the Georgia DOT says, the main causes of this dangerous trend are speeding, impaired driving, and not buckling up.
“They’re not driving alert, they’re on their cell phone, or they’re texting, or they’re writing down something,” Don Grantham with the Georgia DOT says.
The American Trauma Society estimates sending a text, or even glancing at an incoming message, takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. This is the equivalent of driving 55 mph down the length of a football field blindfolded.
“For that second that you glance at that phone, it could be the second a kid is chasing a ball out into the street,” Captain Marlow said.