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More Georgians on roads, in skies

LAWRENCEVILLE - More than 2 million Georgians are set to take to the road, or air, before 2008 begins despite gas prices that have stayed high and rising airfares.

AAA, the automobile club, expects more than 65 million Americans to travel this holiday season, setting a new record.

But holiday travel is often dangerous. Last year, according to the Georgia State Patrol, there were 29 deaths and 4,678 crashes in the state.

According to the federal Department of Transportation, the number of fatal crashes related to drunk drivers increases exponentially over the holidays.

Normally, the data shows, 36 fatal accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver occurred daily between 2001 and 2005. During the Christmas travel period, that number rises to 45 people a day, and it jumps to 54 deaths daily during the New Year's travel period.

Both travel periods are 102 hours long. For Christmas, it begins at 6 p.m. today and runs through midnight Christmas Day. The New Year's period goes from 6 p.m. Dec. 28 through midnight on the first day of 2008.

In Georgia, the state patrol is predicting 25 deaths over Christmas and 12 over New Year's.

While there will be no lane closures due to construction on Georgia's interstates or state highways through Dec. 26 and on Jan. 1, patrols will be increased during the two travel periods.

For traffic information, see www.georgia-navigator.com or call 511 for travel information or to request HERO assistance in metro Atlanta.