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State patrol aims to save gas money
Drivers may notice stationary patrols and road checcks
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The Georgia State Patrol has stepped up patrols this weekend for the busiest travel period of the year.

Troopers will be targeting seat belt, speed and occupant protection violations, but they may go about it in a variety of ways.

People likely will notice more stationary patrols and road checks this weekend.

The Georgia State Patrol is trying to save money by asking troopers to keep their gasoline purchases to between $360 and $370 each month, said Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright.

"For the last couple of years we've asked troopers to keep an eye on gasoline consumption. Two years ago we asked them to cut it 25 percent and they did that. Last year we asked them to keep the gas consumption for patrol vehicles at $410 per month. Now we just need them to get it under $400 a vehicle per month on average across the state," Wright said. "The road check actually has the additional benefit of troopers being able to interact with more people than working speed patrol."

Road checks can expose people committing a number of violations, like driving with a suspended licence or driving with expired tags.

Outside the metro Atlanta area, troopers typically use more gasoline because they patrol a four- or five-county region, Wright said.

"Troopers will just conduct the road checks and if they're called to a crash, they're still going to respond to the crashes," Wright said. "It's going to vary on the mileage from area to area and month to month."

The Thanksgiving weekend has been busy already.

So far, there have been 189 wrecks and five fatalities across the state this holiday weekend.

"The weather has been a slight factor in the increase in the number of wrecks over what the GSP normally sees," Wright said. "Usually troopers at this point would have worked maybe in the neighborhood of 130 or 140 crashes."

Wright said the Thanksgiving travel period is always 102 hours, and the nature of the holiday leads to heavier traffic on the roads.

"Unlike say, Labor Day and Memorial Day, which work in summer travel and then Christmas, New Year's and July Fourth holiday periods where the hours vary, people pretty much have their plans in place for Thanksgiving," Wright said.

People almost always travel earlier in the week to be with family for the holiday, go shopping or watch football games on Friday and Saturday and then travel home on Sunday, Wright said.

"People have family traditions that have been set in place and the holiday travel has to take that into account," Wright said.