Updated Independence Day Safety: Four statewide traffic fatalities so far. What you need to know for fireworks, travel and swimming.

Updated Independence Day Safety: Four statewide traffic fatalities so far. What you need to know for fireworks, travel and swimming.

Road Safety: As of 12 p.m., Georgia State Patrol reported four traffic fatalities for the July 4th Holiday travel period that began at 6 p.m. Tuesday and runs until midnight tonight. Fatalities worked by Chamblee PD (1), Fulton PD (1), Post 22-Waycross (1) and Post 31-Valdosta (1).

“During the travel period, troopers will be on high visibility patrols watching for those who are driving impaired or distracted, not wearing seat belts, and other traffic violations that could potentially cause a traffic crash,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. “Also, please keep in mind as you travel, that beginning July 1, Georgia law will prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving,” he added.

During the July Fourth holiday period, the Georgia State Patrol will be participating in the Operation Zero Tolerance campaign against impaired drivers, where state troopers will be working alongside sheriff’s deputies and police officers to apprehend impaired drivers.

From Rome/Floyd County Fire Department

Fireworks Safety: As you celebrate Independence Day, safety officials urge residents to use extreme caution to avoid fires and severe injuries when using fireworks. Fireworks safety tips from the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner:

  • Purchase fireworks from a licensed fireworks dealer.
  • Observe all state laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Read the labels carefully before igniting any fireworks.
  • Ensure that an adult supervises all firework activities.
  • Never allow children to ignite fireworks.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never try to relight a firework.
  • Have a garden hose or bucket of water nearby.
  • Use caution with animals. Excitement, noise, and lights can cause fear and stress.


From Georgia DOT: To ease 4th of July holiday traffic congestion in northwest Georgia, the Georgia Department of Transportation is suspending construction-related lane closures on interstate highways from 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4  to 12 a.m. on Thursday, July 5. Lane closures will also be limited on state routes that directly serve major tourist and recreation centers.

Boating Safety: Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division reminds boaters that impaired boating is against the law.  Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries and consequences. In Georgia it is illegal to operate a vessel with a BAC level of .08 or higher – the same as it is to operate a vehicle. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths, and a major contributor to accidents*. The Division encourages boaters to enjoy the boating season by boating sober, wearing a life jacket, and taking a boating education course.

Swimming Safety: (From the Georgia Department of Natural Resources)

The acronym SPLASH makes it easy to stay safe at the beach, lake, pool or river this holiday:

  • Supervision – Designate an adult to watch children at all times. Do not assume someone else is watching.
  • Prevention – Wear personal flotation devices (PFD or life jacket), install fencing around pools, and use drain covers in pools.
  • Look before you leap – Never jump into water without knowing how deep it is and what is below the surface.
  • Arm’s Length – Adults should be arm’s length to children in water, and safety tools such as hooks should be nearby at all times.
  • Swim Lessons – Knowing how to swim greatly reduces the chance of drowning. Classes are often available through the Red Cross or YMCA.
  • Have a Water Safety Plan – Know what to do during an emergency.
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