Staying safe on the road and water for July 4th

Published 8:13 am Friday, June 29, 2012

The Georgia State Patrol is participating with other law enforcement agencies across the state for the “100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T.” campaign, which includes the July 4th holiday.

The goal of the campaign is to reduce traffic deaths during the summer months.

Sgt. First Class Marc Godby, the commander of the GSP’s Colquitt, Ga., post, said state troopers in Southwest Georgia will be out on the highways “in full force” during the holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m. on July 3 and ends at midnight on July 4.

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H.E.A.T., or Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic, is a program coordinated by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety that targets speeders, alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers, aggressive drivers, motorists not wearing seat belts, or adults who do not properly restrain children. The program began on Memorial Day and continues through Labor Day.

During the “100 Days of Summer H.E.A.T.” campaign, troopers, police officers, and sheriffs’ deputies will be conducting road checks and saturation patrols throughout the state.

“Look for road checks throughout the summer and at any time – day or night,” said Colonel Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.


Boating safety

According to activity reports, on June 16th, Georgia Department of Natural Resources conservation rangers conducted a concentrated patrol on the Chattahoochee River in Early County.

The purpose of the concentrated patrol was to address complaints of boating under the influence and racing.

State troopers from the Georgia State Patrol’s Colquitt, Ga., post also assisted by setting up roadblocks near one of the landings. One vessel operator was arrested for boating under the influence and child endangerment by BUI, while another driver was arrested for DUI.

According to Georgia law, it is illegal for those under the age of 21 years to operate a boat or PWC if their blood alcohol level is 0.02 or more.

Those 21 years of age or older are considered to be under the influence, and may not operate a boat or PWC, if their blood alcohol level is 0.10 or more or if drugs are detected.

Georgia DNR offers the following advice for holiday boaters:

“Plan ahead to enjoy a great day of boating without alcohol. Take along plenty of food and a variety of drinks, such as water, lemonade, soft drinks or non-alcoholic beer. Plan to limit the time of your trip to avoid becoming fatigued. If it is known in advance that alcohol will be present, designate a driver, both on the boat and back at the ramp and ensure that all passengers are wearing life jackets.”


How to report DUIs and BUIs

The Georgia State Patrol and cell phone providers in Georgia offer the Star G-S-P service for motorists to report suspected impaired drivers. The call is free and you will be connected with the nearest GSP post to your location. From your cell phone, call Star G-S-P (*477). You can also call 911.

To report a boater under the influence, call 911 or the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement office in Albany, Ga., at (229) 430-4252.

On its website,, Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers the following tips for motorists who suspect another driver is driving under the influence or driving recklessly.

“First, stay as far away from the other vehicle as possible.

Second, do not try to pass the vehicle or signal the driver to pull over. Doing so could result in a collision.

Third, take notice of the license plate number of the driver along with details of the vehicle including make, model and color. However, make sure you don’t compromise your own safety trying to obtain this information.

Finally, pull over and call 911. Give the exact location of the vehicle, including the name of the road or cross streets and the direction the vehicle is traveling. Give a complete description of the vehicle and the manner in which the vehicle is being driven.”