ATLANTA — Authorities across the country are urging motorists to stay safe and buckle up when driving this holiday.
AAA predicts nearly 50.9 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. Of those, an estimated 45.5 million people will drive during the Thanksgiving holiday.
That represents the most motorists on the road for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2005, AAA said.
“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, travel and publishing. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”
According to Hertz, the busiest airport pick-up locations for travelers planning to rent a car this Thanksgiving are expected to be Orlando, Fla.; Los Angeles; Miami; Las Vegas; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The holiday represents a busy time for authorities.
During the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday, Georgia State Patrol troopers, for example, investigated 648 traffic crashes that resulted in 347 injuries and 16 traffic deaths. Troopers also issued 10,652 citations and 15,207 warnings during the holiday.
“Sadly, each holiday period, more than one-half of the people killed in motor vehicle crashes are not using safety belts,” Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said in a news release. “Always wear your seat belt no matter how short the trip. Many lives can be saved if people take a few seconds to buckle up.”