Christmas traffic deaths in Georgia nearly twice the 2016 total

Lisa Cox was on her way home early Saturday when tragedy struck.

Just two days before Christmas, a suspected drunken driver with prior DUI arrests hit Cox’s car in a head-on collision on Ga. 316 in Gwinnett County, police said. Cox, a mother, wife and seamstress, did not survive.

Lisa Cox (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

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According to state figures released Wednesday, Cox was one of 15 people killed in accidents during the 102-hour holiday period that ended at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

That is nearly double the total in 2016, when there were eight traffic-related deaths.

Why the increase?

Because Christmas fell on a Monday this year, the 2017 travel period was 24 hours longer than the 2016 travel period, Department of Public Safety officials said.

DUI arrests, crashes and injuries also were up from 2016.

Statewide, troopers investigated 515 traffic crashes that resulted in 219 injuries, authorities said. And 192 people were arrested on driving under the influence charges.

In 2016, 190 DUI arrests were made, according to state figures. There were 392 crashes and 208 injuries.

Agencies in Albany as well Gwinnett, Richmond, Floyd and Cherokee counties handled five of the fatal crashes this year. Georgia troopers handled the other 10.

The New Year’s travel period begins Friday at 6 p.m. and closes Monday (New Year’s Day) at 11:59 p.m. Last year, eight people were killed in crashes during that travel period.

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