Zero DUI Tolerance During the Holidays Takes on New Urgency
Authorities Cracking Down To Help Avoid Increase in Traffic Fatalities
The Georgia Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) is using the holiday season to reinforce the state’s zero tolerance policy for impaired driving. If you’re over the limit, you’re under arrest. It’s that simple.
However, the end of 2012 has brought a new sense of urgency for Georgia besides battling the Christmas shopping crowds and making New Year’s resolutions. That’s because, for the first time in six years, Georgia is on track to experience an increase in traffic fatalities. If fatalities maintain their current rate, the state will surpass last year’s total of 1,226 deaths on our roadways. In Henry County, to date there have been 6,477 accidents with 2,230 injuries and 21 fatalities. There have also been 563 DUIs reported for the year so far in Henry County alone.
That’s why the GOHS is adding a special message to its normal enforcement campaign this time of year. In addition to reminding Georgia motorists that if they don’t drive sober, they’ll get pulled over, GOHS has also launched Operation Safe Holidays to ask our drivers to be extra careful on Georgia roads so the state doesn’t reach a 6-year milestone of traffic deaths.
“We always take this time of year to remind motorists that impaired driving is against the law 365 days a year in Georgia,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “And while Operation Zero Tolerance is still in effect, we also want to urge everyone to be extra careful as they hit the road this time of year. A great Christmas present for me would be seeing everyone get home safe and sound this holiday season.”
And statistics show, the holiday season isn’t just dangerous in Georgia. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in traffic crashes across the country in December 2010 and 775 of those were killed in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers.
While the loss of life is tragic enough, drunk driving can also create a tremendous financial burden. Statistics show that the average cost of a DUI can climb to nearly $10,000 per person.
“The fact is that DUI’s are a drain on the state’s resources, the offender’s resources and the resources of any potential victim,” said Director Blackwood. “It’s imperative that Georgia motorists don’t continue their Christmas partying behind the wheel. Law enforcement all over the state will be cracking down on impaired drivers and they will not hesitate to send you to jail, even if it is Christmas.”
The good news is there are a few simple tips to get home safely if you plan to drink this holiday season:
? Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin
? Before drinking, designate a sober driver and leave your keys at home
? If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation
Georgia’s annual holiday campaign of Operation Zero Tolerance begins on December 14th and will last through New Year’s Day. For more information on the Henry County Police Department, visit www.henrycounty-ga.org/police. For more information on Operation Zero Tolerance, visit www.gahighwaysafty.org.