Motorists reminded to save green by not driving drunk

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, March 14, 2018

ATLANTA — Drivers will see plenty of green leaving their wallets if they make the foolish and illegal decision to drink and drive while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is joining the Safe and Sober Driving Coalition TEAM Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Georgia Department of Transportation to encourage everyone to plan ahead for a sober ride if their St. Patrick’s celebration is going to include alcohol.
The Georgia State Patrol and local law enforcement officers statewide will keep their zero-tolerance policy by taking all drunk and drugged drivers they find on the road to jail this weekend and every day of the year.
“TEAM Georgia is committed to its mission of encouraging safe and sober driving choices as a means of reducing transportation crashes, injuries and deaths,” TEAM Georgia Chairman Ron Fennel said. “Our St. Patrick’s Day campaign brings together members of the hospitality industry, restaurants and bars to stand behind a unified message for everyone to have fun but to also be responsible and get home safely.”
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths in Georgia has increased by 32 percent in just two years. There were 368 alcohol-related traffic deaths in Georgia in 2016 compared to 279 in 2014.
Preliminary data from the Georgia Department of Transportation shows 17 people died, and almost 1,600 were injured in more than 4,700 crashes on Georgia roadways from March 16-19 last year.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety, which includes the Georgia State Patrol, Capitol Police and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division, made 201 DUI arrests in Georgia over a three-day period during last year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
With St. Patrick’s Day falling on Saturday this year, law enforcement will be increasing efforts to take all impaired drivers off the road.
“The luck of the Irish will not save you if you make the foolish decision to break the law by getting behind the wheel when you are too impaired to drive,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said. “When you are planning your celebration for this weekend, go ahead and plan ahead for a sober ride with a designated driver or ridesharing service. A little planning now can save you plenty of headaches and maybe even your life.”
In addition to designated drivers and ridesharing services, drivers in Georgia can get a free tow and ride home up to 10 miles from AAA’s Tow-To-Go service. The free tow and rides from AAA’s Tow-To-Go will begin on Friday and end at 6 a.m. Sunday, March 18.
TEAM Georgia partner and sponsor Checker Cab of Atlanta will also provide free rides home from 6 p.m. March 16 to 6 a.m. March 18.