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Authorities urge caution over Labor Day weekend
Holiday ushers out summer season on Lake Lanier
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Forsyth County News

FORSYTH COUNTY ­-- Forsyth County and state emergency services personnel are encouraging residents to have a fun — but safe — Labor Day weekend.

“The safety and well-being of our community is my primary concern,” said Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper. “Our deputies will be out in full force this weekend throughout the county.

“Please do your part in making this Labor Day a safe and enjoyable one.”

Doug Rainwater, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, added deputies from all of the agency’s various units will be doing their part over the three-day weekend.

“We’ll be conducting a number of safety checkpoints all throughout the county,” Rainwater said.

Deputies will be looking for seatbelt and speed violations, as well as for people who may be driving after drinking too much alcohol.

“We’re doing all this for one reason — so that we will be proactive with our traffic enforcement so we can combat crashes and injuries from crashes,” he said. “We’ll be placing emphasis on speed enforcement, aggressive driving and … driving under the influence, as well as boating under the influence.”

Labor Day weekend, which signals the end of the summer season, always draws large crowds to Lake Lanier.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said firefighters will also be ready to respond to any emergencies, and he encouraged those who are planning a home cookout to stay safe.

“If you celebrate the last holiday of the summer as many do by enjoying time around the family backyard grill, please be sure to do so with caution, use the appropriate fuel and always abide by the manufacturer’s safety precautions,” he said.

Shivers also noted that the state burn ban remains in effect through Oct. 1, so no one should be burning outdoors.

Like the local sheriff’s office, troopers with the Georgia State Patrol and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will be out in force this holiday weekend.

According to information from the Office of Highway Safety, nearly 1,200 people were injured in crashes on Georgia roads during the Labor Day weekend last year and 22 people were killed.

As a result, the office has implemented two campaigns — Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, and Operation Zero Tolerance.

"There are so many beautiful lakes and coastal communities to visit in Georgia and we want everyone to enjoy Labor Day weekend and cool off," said Harris Blackwood, director of the office, in a statement. "But we also want them to get home safely and this campaign will help ensure that."

Both Blackwood and Rainwater noted that the most effective way to ensure drivers and passengers stay safe this weekend is to have a designated driver. Anyone who thinks they see an impaired motorist should call 911.