Sunday June 23rd, 2024 4:10PM
1:30PM ( 2 hours ago ) Radio Alert

Georgia officials promote ‘Belts and Jackets’ initiative ahead of Memorial Day weekend

By Hamilton Keener Anchor / Reporter

Georgia officials held a press conference Thursday morning to share safety tips for driving and boating before the Memorial Day weekend. 

Judy Dancy, regional program manager with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlighted the importance of wearing a seatbelt while driving. 

“Despite steady increases in observed seatbelt use, approximately half of all passenger vehicle deaths are unrestrained. Nighttime unrestrained fatalities continue to remain high for those not wearing their seatbelts,” Dancy said. “In 2021, it was at 57%. That's why one focus of the click-it or ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seatbelt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.” 

Dancy added many unnecessary fatalities can be prevented by simply wearing a seatbelt. 

“So as you're enjoying the beautiful lakes and parks in Georgia, this Memorial Day weekend, remember to take that brief second to make that life-saving decision to buckle up not only yourself but make sure your passengers are buckled up as well,” Dancy said. 

Lt. Colonel William “Billy” Hitchens, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety reminded residents to obey posted speed limits, drive sober and refrain from cell phone use while driving. 

“If you follow these simple guidelines, the likelihood of being involved in a serious crash drastically decreases,” Hitchens said. “During the 78-hour Memorial Day travel period in 2023, DPS issued 13,064 citations, 15,987 warnings and arrested 388 people for driving under the influence. The Georgia State Patrol investigated 534 crashes which resulted in 322 injuries and 11 fatalities. And statewide there were 16 fatalities.”

Follow the Georgia DPS Twitter account for updates. 

The Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division Director Colonel Mike England discussed the importance of boating safety.

England said in 2023 there were 73 deaths on Georgia waterways and in 2024 there have been 26 fatalities. 

“Wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket. Georgia law states that children under 13 must wear it on a moving vessel or motorized vessel. Whether it's motorized or not, they must have that jacket on if they're under 13,” England said.  “Do not drive a vehicle or a boat while distracted whether by an electronic device or skiers or kids in your boat. Focus on what's ahead and the other vessels that are around you. Take a boater or driver education class and remember that boater education is mandatory for anyone born on or after January 1, 1998. stay sober or designate a driver or operator.”

England added game wardens arrested 273 people in 2023 for boating under the influence. They have already arrested 24 in 2024. 

“I really want to focus on a couple of particular boating laws that are showing an increase in violations. That is the 100-foot law and the 200-foot law. The 100-foot law mandates idle speed within 100 feet of any person, boat dock swimming area or any other object in the water including the shoreline,” England said. “Legislation that was passed last year dictates that those who are wake surfing or wakeboarding must be 200 feet from most of those same structures. With a few exceptions. The 200-foot law was passed because wake boats create a very large wake that can cause problems for smaller vessels and swimmers.”

England said violating these laws can endanger other boaters, swimmers and the violator. Game wardens will be out to enforce all boating laws, especially the 100-foot law and 200-foot law.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: lake lanier, hall county, Memorial Day, Safety, Lanier Islands, tips
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