The Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS) has received a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to collect data over the next two years to improve motorcycle safety. The $70,000 grant will be used to conduct six, one-day safety checkpoints between March 1 of this year and December 31, 2012.
Lt. Colonel Mark McDonough, DPS Deputy Commissioner, said that Georgia saw a sharp increase in the number of fatal crashes involving motorcyclists between 2005 and 2008 as the number of motorcycles registered in the state reached an all-time high. There were 167 motorcycle operators or passengers killed in crashes in 2008. He said Georgia State Patrol launched specialized patrols that included aviation support during the summer months when weekend motorcycle traffic is the heaviest. The enforcement effort along metro Atlanta interstates is focused on motorcycle operators traveling at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic, traveling in the emergency lane, or driving recklessly around other vehicles.
“The first step in reducing motorcycle deaths was the educating of all drivers of the dangers motorcyclists face on our roads, and now the next step will combine enforcement and education to enhance the safety of motorcycle operators and passengers,” he said. “We will be checking to make sure the operator has the proper class of license to operate a motorcycle and a DOT-approved helmet. We will also check that the motorcycle is in good operating condition with good tires, a headlight, and a taillight that is working.” The Lt. Colonel said troopers will be concentrating on the basic violations to protect the operator and passenger in the event of a crash and minimize the injuries they sustain.
The first safety checkpoints of 2011 will be conducted Wednesday, March 9 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. along Interstate 75 at the Southbound Commercial Vehicle Inspection Station in Monroe County. During the same time period, another checkpoint will be established at the Southbound Commercial Vehicle Inspection Station along I-95 in Chatham County, north of Savannah.
Lt. Colonel McDonough said the checkpoints will operate in the same manner as passenger vehicle safety checks conducted each day across the state. Motorcycle operators will be directed by portable highway signs to exit the interstate at the inspection stations where troopers or officers will check that the operator has the proper class of license for the vehicle, a valid tag, a federal DOT-approved motorcycle helmet, and that the operator is not under the influence of alcohol. “For the average operator with the proper license and equipment, the delay should be about a minute,” he said. Additional safety checks will be held in the spring and fall this year. (source Rome News, GA)