State gears up for widespread DUI enforcement on St. Pat’s Day
Published 11:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016
ATLANTA — The Governor’s Office on Highway Safety (GOHS) is warning all St. Patrick’s Day revelers about driving impaired: If you’re over the limit, you’ll be under arrest. No warnings. No excuses.
The luck of the Irish won’t be able to save motorists who get caught driving drunk and while Georgia’s zero tolerance policy toward impaired driving exists 24/7/365, GOHS is taking special advantage of St. Patrick’s Day to remind drivers that if they don’t drive sober, they’ll get pulled over.
Reminders will come in the form of high visibility enforcement and increased patrols because in 2014, 18 people were killed nationwide in drunk driving crashes on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the holiday has become one of the nation’s deadliest because of alcohol. From 6 p.m. March 16 to 6 a.m March 18 in 2014, 28 percent of all traffic fatalities involved drunk drivers. Just the hours between midnight and 6 a.m. on March 18 were even worse, with half of all fatalities involving drunk drivers.
“You may feel like you’ve heard the message before, but we’ll keep hammering it home until there are no more alcohol-impaired fatalities,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “We’re still encouraging everyone to make a plan before they leave home. Understand the danger of drinking and driving and make the right decision. Even one drink is dangerous if you are behind the wheel of a car.”
In addition to warning Georgia motorists that increased enforcement on St. Patrick’s Day will no doubt catch up with them if they decide to drive impaired, GOHS is asking partygoers to utilize the “Drive Sober, Georgia” smartphone app, which offers a database of safe and sober ride options throughout the state.
The good news is that besides downloading “Drive Sober, Georgia,” there are a few simple ways to ensure a safe conclusion to everyone’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities:
• Plan a safe way home before the partying begins.
• Designate a sober driver before you start drinking and leave your car keys at home.
• Use a taxi, call a sober friend or use public transportation if you’re too impaired to drive.
• Contact local law enforcement if you see a drunk driver.
• Be prepared to take away someone’s keys and find them a sober ride home.
Contact your local law enforcement agency to learn about local St. Patrick’s Day efforts. For more information on GOHS, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org or call 404-656-6996.