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Record number of travelers expected for Thanksgiving
Thanksgicing travel
Thanksgiving travelers wait for curbside check-in at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006, to get ahead of the holiday rush Wednesday. Record numbers of travelers are expected on area highways and skyways for the long Thanksgiving holiday, typically the yearly high point for road and air traffic. - photo by Associated Press
A record number of Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles during the Thanksgiving holiday period, with more than 1.3 million Georgians expected to travel.
    According to projections from AAA, 38.3 million people will drive or fly somewhere during the holiday period, an increase of 2.7 percent from last year.
    "Even though airfares, hotel and car rental rates are up over last year, we aren't willing to sacrifice our great American travel traditions," said Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president of AAA Auto Club South.
    With the increased traffic on the roads, law enforcement will be out in force monitoring the roadways.
    "Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busier holiday periods of the year and that increased the traffic volume on the roads," said Col. Bill Hitchens, commander of the Georgia Department of Public Safety. "With the volume  also goes an increase in the chance you will be involved in a traffic crash."
    Officials are projecting 20 deaths and 1,301 injuries as the result of a traffic crash during the 102-hour holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m. today and runs though midnight Sunday.
    Last year there were 1,227 injuries and 17 deaths on Georgia's roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday period.
    "Now though the end of the year is the period when we see a noticeable increase in number of impaired drivers on our roads," Hitchens said. "Troopers will be keeping a sharp eye out for impaired drivers."
    In addition to looking for drunk drivers, law enforcement will also be participating in Operation Click It or Ticket, Georgia's high visibility seat belt enforcement program.
    "Sadly , each holiday period more than one-half of the people killed in motor vehicle crashes are not using seat belts," Hitchens said. "Many would be alive today had they taken the two seconds to buckle up before their trip."
    Even though gas prices have climbed upward in the past few weeks, they are still close to last year's averages, according to the website
    Nationally, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline averages $2.23, up two cents from last year. Georgia's average is $2.12 while Savannah's, the closest market to Statesboro with information available, averages $2.15.
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