• 61°

Officers launch DUI crackdown

Georgia’s statewide “Operation Zero Tolerance” holiday enforcement crackdown begins Friday, Dec. 18, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety announced this week.

2009 marks the fourth consecutive Christmas season that Georgia has mobilized literally thousands of traffic enforcement officers around the state under the new “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” national DUI enforcement campaign. Many Georgia State Patrol troopers and local law enforcement officers are working double-shifts during this holiday travel period to help save more lives.

During this high-visibility program of sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols drivers detected “Over the Limit” will be placed “Under Arrest.”

“We’re telling motorists when to watch out for more flashing blue lights in their rearview mirror because this campaign is truly about saving lives,” says Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Bob Dallas. “It’s not about revenue, and it’s not about writing more tickets.”

Last year, state troopers arrested 1,116 people on charges of driving under the influence between Dec. 1, 2008, and Jan. 4, 2009. In Georgia, 25 people died during the 2008 Christmas travel period. Statistics show approximately one out of three fatal highway crashes each year is caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to GOHS.

Motorists are reminded that the results from drinking and driving can end up costly no matter how many drinks you’ve had.

“Violators often face jail time, higher insurance rates and other unanticipated expenses, such as attorney’s fees, court costs, towing expenses and lost time,” said Col. Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

The Georgia State Patrol cautions:

 Don’t ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you are impaired;

 Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;

 Designate a sober driver in advance and leave your keys at home;

 Wear your seat belt while in a car or use a helmet and protective gear when on a motorcycle as these are your best defenses against an impaired driver.