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Stay safe on roads, lake over holiday weekend, law agencies urge
Thunderstorms likely through Labor Day in Northeast Georgia
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Emergency personnel are encouraging residents to have a fun but safe Labor Day weekend.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents to designate a sober driver and make plans for that in advance.

Like the local sheriff’s office, troopers with the Georgia State Patrol and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will be out in force this holiday weekend.

According to information from the Office of Highway Safety, nearly 1,200 people were injured in crashes on Georgia roads during the Labor Day weekend last year and 22 people were killed.

As a result, the office has implemented two campaigns — Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Operation Zero Tolerance.

“There are so many beautiful lakes and coastal communities to visit in Georgia and we want everyone to enjoy Labor Day weekend and cool off,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the office, in a statement. “But we also want them to get home safely and this campaign will help ensure that.”

Deputies from area departments including the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office will be out in force.

“We’ll be conducting a number of safety checkpoints all throughout the county,” Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for that sheriff’s office said.

Deputies will be looking for seat belt and speed violations, as well as for people who may be driving after drinking too much alcohol.

“We’re doing all this for one reason — so that we will be proactive with our traffic enforcement so we can combat crashes and injuries from crashes,” he said. “We’ll be placing emphasis on speed enforcement, aggressive driving and ... driving under the influence, as well as boating under the influence.”

Labor Day weekend, which signals the end of the summer season, always draws large crowds to Lake Lanier.

State officials are reminding people to be safe on Georgia’s waterways during the upcoming holiday weekend. The Department of Natural Resources law enforcement division says its rangers will be busy making sure boaters follow the rules and stay sober and safe while operating boats.

Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver, assistant director of the law enforcement division, says the Labor Day weekend isn’t generally as busy as the Memorial Day or July Fourth weekends but boaters still need to have increased safety awareness.

The agency says there have been 68 boating incidents, six boating incident-related fatalities and 33 total drownings on Georgia waters so far this year. Rangers also have issued 158 boating under the influence citations.

Weather for the weekend is forecast to be in the upper 80s with chances for thunderstorms, with the highest chance, 60 percent, on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said firefighters will also be ready to respond to any emergencies, and he encouraged those who are planning a home cookout to stay safe.

“If you celebrate the last holiday of the summer as many do by enjoying time around the family backyard grill, please be sure to do so with caution, use the appropriate fuel and always abide by the manufacturer’s safety precautions,” he said.