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Public Safety Officials Expect 'Tremendous Crowds' at Lake Lanier

Forsyth County authorities are ready for the large crowds at the lake and Georgia State troopers will be patrolling interstates and secondary roads over the Labor Day weekend.

Local public safety officials and the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) are gearing up for a busy holiday travel period.

Labor Day weekend is typically seen as the last weekend of the summer season.

According to Capt. Jason Shivers with the Forsyth County Fire Department, authorities are expecting tremendous crowds on Lake Lanier over the three day weekend.

During a meeting on Thursday at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office, Shivers said every agency in the county discussed their holiday preparations and schedules.

"For Forsyth County Fire we do have trained, equipped personnel on standby at the ready should we be needed to respond at Lake Lanier," he said.

Shivers pointed out that fire personnel would not be at the lake or on the Chattahoochee River, but would be standing by in a readiness capacity at their fire stations.

According to Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough, Georgia State Troopers and Motor Carrier Compliance Division Officers will be patrolling the interstates and secondary roadways throughout the weekend.  

"Past experience has shown the majority of the fatalities over a holiday weekend occur on the state routes, county roads, and city streets," McDonough said in a released statement.

Enforcement actions will be targeted at impaired drivers, speeders, people not wearing seat belts, and people who do not properly restrain children.

"Alcohol, speed, and occupant protection violations are the primary contributing factors in fatal traffic crashes in our state,” McDonough added.

In 2010, Labor Day weekend crashes claimed the lives of 14 people. A total of 2,580 traffic crashes and 1,042 injuries were reported during last year’s 78-hour holiday period.

This year, the holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2 and ends at midnight on Labor Day.

Operation Zero Tolerance, a DUI enforcement program, will remain in effect through the end of the Labor Day holiday weekend. As part of the program, troopers and motor carrier compliance officers will conduct road checks and concentrated patrols on secondary roadways.
Georgia State Patrol also reminds motorists to make sure their vehicle is in proper working order before hitting the road.

"Drivers should take every precaution to prevent being stranded on the road," McDonough said. "Once on the road, be alert for potential dangers by obeying the posted speed limit, not tailgating, allowing plenty of space before merging in front of tractor trailers, using a designated driver if alcohol will be in your plans, making sure everyone is wearing a seat belt, and taking the time to properly restrain children in a motor vehicle."

GSP is also participating in the “Bee a Buckler” safety program and Operation C.A.R.E. during the holiday weekend. Gov. Nathan Deal has proclaimed Labor Day weekend as “Bee a Buckler” Safe Driving Weekend. The program stresses the importance of wearing seatbelts and other safe driving practices. Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, is a nationwide effort in which law enforcement officers attempt to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities through high visibility enforcement and educational outreach.

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