December 16-- Notice from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is joining state and local law enforcement in warning drivers to avoid the risk of going to jail during the holidays by making the right decision to not drink and drive.
Georgia is once again participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's annual Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over campaign from December 13, 2019 through January 1, 2020. With more than 100 million travelers expected to hit our nation's roads during Christmas and New Year's, Georgia law enforcement will be continuing their year-round zero tolerance policy during the Christmas holiday season by taking all impaired drivers to jail.
"Consider this your warning because state troopers, sheriff's deputies and police officers are going to arrest all impaired drivers they find on the road," GOHS Director Allen Poole said. "If alcohol is going to be part of your holiday plans, please include a plan for a sober ride with a designated driver, ride-share service or cab before the party starts."
NHTSA data shows that 839 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver during the month of December in 2018. During the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday periods in 2018 alone, there were more drunk driving-related fatalities than during any other holiday period that year. Georgia's alcohol-impaired fatalities last year accounted for approximately 25 percent of all traffic fatalities statewide with 375. While that's better than the national average of 29 percent, that's still 375 too many.
GOHS focuses on impaired drivers during the holiday season, but they are also warning drivers who might never drive drunk that there are still things they can do to help get home safe.
"The holidays are a busy time with so many of us trying to get so much done in a short period of time, and we want to remind people to avoid rushing on the road by obeying the speed limit and complying with Georgia's hands-free law," Poole said. "And always remember the best defense against a drunk, distracted, or speeding driver is a buckled seatbelt."
AAA's "Tow-To-Go" program is another option for those who fail to plan ahead for a sober ride home. The service will once again offer free tows and rides up to 10 miles from Friday, December 20 until 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 2. Those interested in the free ride can visit https://autoclubsouth.aaa.com/safety/tow_to_go.aspx or call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO for more information.
GOHS also offers the following tips for partying with a plan this holiday season:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
- If you're hosting holiday festivities, be sure to have non-alcoholic drinks available to encourage designated drivers and be prepared to take keys away from anyone who tries to leave after drinking and make arrangements for them to get home safely.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1, *GSP or your local law enforcement agency.