Twelve people died in vehicle crashes across the state during the holiday weekend, but Hall County was largely spared from serious traffic accidents.
The state Department of Public Safety recorded 2,167 vehicle crashes with 503 injuries between 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and midnight Sunday.
The numbers from the 78-hour holiday period show that crashes occurred at a higher rate this year than they did during the 102-hour holiday period in 2008.
But injuries and deaths resulting from those crashes were much lower than expected and fewer than in 2008, according to statistics from the Department of Public Safety.
More than one-third of the traffic fatalities over the weekend happened in the metropolitan Atlanta area, but no fatal accidents occurred in the Gainesville area.
Gordy Wright, director of public information for the department, said the lower number of fatalities and injuries from traffic accidents over the weekend can likely be attributed to fair weather and increased presence of law enforcement throughout the state.
Wright said nearly all the state’s troopers were on the roads on Thursday and Sunday looking for impaired drivers and speeders.
Statistics were not yet available Monday on the number of accidents caused by and arrests related to impaired driving, but Wright said one-third of holiday accidents are usually attributable to alcohol use. Speed and not wearing a seatbelt contribute to deaths, Wright said.
“Speed will probably be a contributing factor in the majority of the crashes,” Wright said.
Gainesville Police Sgt. Shawn Welsh said city police officers did not experience an increase in traffic accidents over the holiday weekend. City police officers encountered a few people driving under the influence of alcohol, a small number of traffic accidents and other crimes like thefts and shoplifting, but “nothing out of the ordinary,” Welsh said.
Because of the city’s furlough on Wednesday and two days off for the Christmas holiday, Welsh said he had been expecting to do a lot of paperwork Monday.
“It’s been pretty nice, actually,” Welsh said Monday. “I was waiting to see the report box busting off the wall when I came in this morning.”
But projections for New Year’s traffic are a little more grim.
As wetter weather is expected for the New Year’s holiday traffic period, state officials are planning for more wrecks, injuries and deaths on Georgia’s roadways. The Department of Public safety projects there will be 2,330 vehicle crashes that result in 1,004 injuries and 16 deaths between 6 p.m. Thursday and midnight Sunday.