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New campaign launched as Ga. highway fatalities climb

12:53 PM, Nov 22, 2012   |    comments
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Traffic on I-405 in Los Angeles (Getty Images)

ATLANTA -- Traffic fatalities in Georgia are higher now than they were this time last year, according to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. Already, more than 1,000 people have died in wrecks across the state. At this pace, this year's fatalities are projected to surpass last year's total of more than 1,200.

"If we don't do something in the next 39 days, we're going to see our first increase in six years," said Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. "It's something we're very serious about becuase it's not just numbers for the sake of numbers. Each one of those numbers represents a life that has been changed forever."

The state has launched Operation Safe Holidays to keep those on the roads this season safe.

"We have enlisted local law enforcement officials from throughout the state - the state patrol, local sheriff's deputies, local police departments - but now we're asking the public to join us to do the proactive things," Blackwood said. "For goodness sake, put down that cell phone. Don't drink and drive, and another thing that happens this time of year, don't drive while you're drowsy."

"A lot of people try to stretch out that holiday as long as they can, and they try to stetch out that holiday until the wee hours of the morning," he added. "Driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk."

As always, drivers and passengers are also urged to wear their seat belts. Blackwood noted that seat belt usage is actually at an all time high, but that half of all fatalities between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. involve people who were not wearing their seat belts.

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