This year’s Christmas highway deaths up in Georgia over 2016

With hours remaining, traffic-related deaths in Georgia in the Christmas travel period have surpassed the 2016 total, according to state figures.

There have been 11 fatalities on state roadways since the travel period began Friday at 6 p.m., according to a Twitter post by the state Department of Public Safety. The 102-hour window ends Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.

Last year, eight people lost their lives during the Christmas period, officials said in a news release.

However, the period is 24 hours longer this year, Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman Tracey Watson said Tuesday.

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Officials won’t have the number of crashes and injuries available until after the period closes, Watson said.

Last year, the GSP reported 392 crashes with 208 injuries during Christmas travel, according to a news release.

“Most fatal crashes during a holiday period in Georgia involve an impaired driver, speed, or the person killed not utilizing a seat belt,” Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said in the release.

In some crashes, a combination of contributing factors is involved, he said.

The New Year’s travel period, which is 78 hours, begins Friday at 6 p.m. and runs through Monday at 11:59 p.m.

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