By Jason A. Smith
The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) is reporting 21 deaths on the roads statewide, during the New Year's holiday weekend.
The traffic accidents occurred between the hours of 6 p.m., New Year's Eve, through midnight Sunday. The GSP had forecasted 20 deaths for the holiday period.
According to GSP Public Information Officer Lt. Paul Cosper, 3,507 wrecks took place over the holiday. That number exceeded an estimate of 3,008 by the State Patrol and the Crash Reporting Unit at the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Cosper said a busier holiday weekend than normal for drivers, and adverse weather conditions each contributed to the high totals. "A lot of people worked on the Friday following the holiday," he said. "We've also had a lot of rain lately, and more people moving around."
The highest concentration of incidents took place between noon and midnight Friday, during which time, 955 traffic crashes and 240 injuries were reported.
One bright spot in the weekend's statistics was evident, according to Cosper. The agency recorded 870 traffic injuries, compared with an estimate of 1,350.
"Our numbers were down [in that area], because people are wearing their seat belts, and that's a good thing," added Cosper. "We encourage people to be careful on the road, not just during the holiday season, but all the time."