As the busy travel season begins, law enforcement officers are reaching across state lines in an attempt to keep travelers safe.
The Georgia State Patrol Monday kicked off a campaign called "Hands Across the Border," partnering with law enforcement officers in Florida, Alabama and Tennessee.
The idea is to try to reduce the number of highway fatalities as everybody ramps up for the summer break. Hands Across the Border started 27 years ago between Georgia and Florida as an end-of summer-effort.
It quickly grew to other states bordering Georgia with road checks at the state lines. It's now held at the start of the summer to coincide with another campaign called "Georgia’s 100 Days of Heat."
Officers look for distracted drivers, speeders, seat-belt-law violators and impaired drivers.
The head of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Harris Blackwood, said it’s a time for law enforcement officers across the Southeast to remember they’re all in this together.
“We all work together,” Blackwood said. “It’s a time we realize when we meet each other at the border. We shake hands and say hello and that is an opportunity we have to reaffirm that commitment we have to safety in our states.”
Blackwood is also warning against being too tired to get behind the wheels.
“You want to stretch it out as long as you can. You have worked all day and you want to drive as long as you can to get to a specific destination. Make sure you are not tired. Make sure you are alert,” he said.
Fred Hubbs of Decatur says his family has learned never to get on the highway after 4 p.m. because of the traffic.
“It’s not a way to start a vacation spending two hours just trying to get out of the city," he said.
Troopers will also remind travelers about Georgia's new hands-free law that takes effect on July 1.
"We would like to be able to be out in the public and talking to different people and trying to educate them on what is going to happen on July 1," said Governor's Office of Highway Safety Services Director Roger Hayes.
“It’s time to put the cell phones down," said Helena Wallace of Marietta. “We all know that using cell phones is a distraction, and it will definitely create accidents. You just can’t do both at the same time.”
"Hands Across the Border" begins with road checks near Savannah, followed by stops at the Florida state line near Kingsland and Valdosta, the Alabama state line in Columbus, and the Tennessee state line near Ringgold.
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