Patrol expects fewer deaths this Labor Day

LAWRENCEVILLE - Georgia state troopers are anticipating fewer Labor Day weekend road deaths statewide this year than the 22 they saw in a 78-hour period in 2006.

This Labor Day travel period, which is already under way, state troopers expect 18 people to be killed on Georgia's roads. They also anticipate 995 injuries and 1,897 accidents.

Last year, there were 1,018 injuries and 2,063 crashes.

The Georgia Department of Transportation will keep all lanes on interstates and state highways open through 5 a.m. Tuesday, spokeswoman Teri Pope said. Road work can still occur, but it would be outside the travel lanes.

Pope said fines in the work zones will remain doubled, however, even if no construction is taking place.

Col. Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said he expects to see an increase in people driving drunk this weekend.

Troopers will not limit patrols to just the interstates, he said, as only three of last year's deaths occurred on them.

The most Georgia deaths over Labor Day weekend was 35 in 1968, while the fewest number was seven deaths in both 1939 and 1995.