BUFORD, Ga. — Officials are gathering at Lake Lanier on Thursday morning to promote the state's "Belts & Jackets" summer safety message.
Lake Lanier has somewhat infamously seen frequent boating and swimming mishaps in recent years during the summer outdoors season, some of them even tragic.
At Thursday's press conference at 9 a.m., officials from the Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and other agencies will "remind everyone before the extended Memorial Day Holiday weekend to put safety first on the road and water," according to a release.
The agencies are urging everyone to remember to "wear their seat belt" - the "Belts" portion of the motto - "and make sure children under eight years of age are riding in an approved child passenger safety seat that meets the manufacturer's recommendations based on the child's height and weight."
The release notes Georgia is participating in the "Click It or Ticket" campaign that ends June 4.
As for the "Jackets" portion, state officials are stressing that "just as seat belts save lives on the road, a properly worn life jacket saves lives on the water."
The agencies add this warning:
Preliminary crash data shows the number of people who have been killed in traffic crashes in Georgia during the Memorial Day holiday weekend has doubled over a five-year period from seven traffic deaths in the 2018 Memorial Day holiday weekend to 15 people killed in traffic crashes during the 2022 Memorial Day holiday weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 56 percent of the people killed in traffic crashes in the state in 2021 were not wearing seat belts. Georgia Department of Natural Resources Game Wardens investigated 23 boating fatalities and responded to 57 drownings in 2022. Game Wardens also made 287 arrests for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) last year, which is a 55 percent increase from the 185 BUI arrests made in 2018. The Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in Georgia for motor vehicle drivers and boat and personal watercraft operators is .08.