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Special The 78-hour Labor Day holiday travel period will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, and end at midnight on Labor Day. “This holiday weekend, the Georgia State Patrol has one goal in mind—safety,” said Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

As millions of Georgians and their family members get on the road Wednesday to travel home for Thanksgiving, the Governor's Office of Highway is serving a reminder to all motorists: "Make it to the table. Don't drink and drive."

The Wednesday night before America's favorite turkey day is traditionally referred to as "Thanksgiving Eve," an evening that's a big night for bars and drinking in general. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from 2012 to 2016, more than 800 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes from 6 p.m. the evening before Thanksgiving to 5:59 a.m. the following Monday. This makes the Thanksgiving travel period the deadliest time on America's roads and Georgia's.

"Because Thanksgiving has such a large occurrence of drinking and driving, we are joining NHTSA in a media blitz today to urge motorists everywhere not to drink and drive," GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. "The importance of not drinking and driving isn't just for the holidays, but we want everyone to get home safe for years of Thanksgivings to come."

In addition to reaching out to traditional media channels, GOHS will also be sharing content on its social media channels, www.facebook.com/gahighwaysafety on Facebook and @gohsgeorgia on Twitter with the hashtags #designateddriver, #thanksgivingeve and #buzzeddriving.

"Arranging for a sober ride is so important that we are urging everyone to help spread the word by re-posting, re-tweeting and sharing our safety messages," Director Blackwood said. "Take precautions so everyone can make it to the table this Thanksgiving."

The good news is there are several easy steps everyone can take to make sure they make it to the table on Thursday:

• Designate a driver before the first drink.

• Plan to use a rideshare service, but be prepared for longer waits and the potential for increased fares.

• Use public transportation or program taxi company phone numbers into your cell phone.

• If you see a drunk driver, contact local law enforcement. In Georgia, you can also dial *GSP to be connected to the nearest state patrol post.

An additional resource in Georgia, as well as select other states, is the Tow To Go program from AAA and Budweiser. The program provides free, confidential tows to both AAA members and nonmembers alike to locations within 10 miles of the pick-up site by calling (855) 2-TOW-2-GO or (855) 286-9246. For Thanksgiving this year, Tow To Go will be available, Wednesday, Nov. 22 through 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26.

For more information on holiday impaired driving and seatbelt programs in Georgia, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org or visit Facebook at www.facebook.com/gahighwaysafety and Twitter at @gohsgeorgia.

More information on the Tow To Go program can be found at https://autoclubsouth.aaa.com/safety/tow_to_go.aspx.

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