State’s Labor Day DUI campaign beginsPublished 5:40pm Monday, August 20, 2012
Special to The Post-Searchlight
Motorists that drink and drive should be aware that law enforcement in every corner of the state of Georgia are joining agencies throughout the nation for this year’s Labor Day campaign of “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” according to a press release from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).
The campaign began Friday, Aug. 17, and will last through Monday, Sept. 3. In Georgia, the GOHS will be launching a zero-tolerance campaign against impaired driving.
The statewide impaired driving crackdown will include a high-visibility enforcement campaign to curb alcohol impaired driving in August and through the Labor Day holiday weekend, which begins at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 and continues until 5:59 a.m. on Sept. 7.
Why such focus on drunk drivers? Because despite all 50 states outlawing driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more, 2010 still saw more than 10,000 people die in crashes involving an impaired driver. Here in Georgia, there were 298 alcohol-related fatalities in 2010. That represents one quarter of all traffic deaths.
GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said police officers, deputies and state troopers all over the state will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers during the crackdown, and will not hesitate to arrest anyone caught driving impaired. There will be no warnings and no excuses.
“On average, there is one alcohol-related traffic death every 51 minutes in this country,” Blackwood said. “Here in Georgia, we’re trying to reduce this tragic loss of life by getting impaired drivers off our roads.
“We know campaigns like this help reduce drunk driving crashes by as much as 20 percent, so we’re using Labor Day to reinforce the zero-tolerance policy that exists in Georgia 365 days a year.”
Across the country in 2010, 147 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes during the Labor Day weekend. Many of those killed were young drunk drivers getting behind the wheel at night. Of the 147 deaths, 80 percent happened between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Among 18-to-34-year-olds killed during that weekend, 54 percent were alcohol-impaired.
“We want to remind everyone that it is illegal to drive impaired and we hope this campaign will reinforce the message to never get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking,” Blackwood said. “Those who choose to break the law can face jail time, loss of their license and steep financial consequences. It’s simply not worth the risk.”
For more information on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at www.nhtsa.gov/drivesober. For more information on Georgia’s efforts to combat impaired driving, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org