Zero tol­er­ance DUI cam­paign launched

The Standard Journal - - Police -

The Fourth of July is a fa­vorite hol­i­day for many as friends and fam­ily gather to cel­e­brate Amer­ica with food, pa­rades, par­ties and fire­works.

How­ever, for some, the hol­i­day will go from fes­tive to fa­tal when they choose to get be­hind the wheel af­ter drink­ing.

To help pre­vent need­less tragedy, the Gover­nor’s Of­fice of High­way Safety is once again join­ing the na­tional im­paired driv­ing ef­fort to get drunk driv­ers off the road and into a jail cell.

To crack down on drunk driv­ing this Fourth of July, law en­force­ment across the state will be out in full force, ag­gres­sively tar­get­ing those who put lives in dan­ger by be­ing im­paired be­hind the wheel. In Ge­or­gia, GOHS will launch Oper­a­tion Zero Tol­er­ance in con­junc­tion with the na­tional Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over cam­paign. If you’re over the limit, you’ll be un­der ar­rest.

“This July 4th hol­i­day, you can show your pa­tri­o­tism by help­ing to make Ge­or­gia’s roads safer for ev­ery­one by driv­ing sober or mak­ing sure you have a sober ride home,” said GOHS Di­rec­tor Har­ris Black­wood. “Drunk driv­ing is a zero tol­er­ance of­fense. No warn­ings. You will be ar­rested and you will go to jail. We re­peat this mes­sage ev­ery year be­cause it’s true.”

The good news is Fourth of July travel pe­riod crash and in­jury rates de­creased slightly over the last year, but they were still far too high. Sim­i­larly, fa­tal­ity rates re­mained even with six over a 30-hour travel pe­riod in 2012 and 20 over a 102-hour travel pe­riod in 2013. GOHS will con­tinue Oper­a­tion Zero Tol­er­ance un­til those num­bers reach zero.

“We are still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing one traf­fic fa­tal­ity ev­ery five hours in Ge­or­gia dur­ing what is sup­posed to be a fun, sum­mer hol­i­day,” said GOHS Di­rec­tor Har­ris Black­wood. “That means there are 20 people who won’t be cel­e­brat­ing our na­tion’s in­de­pen­dence this year.”

This year, Oper­a­tion Zero Tol­er­ance be­gan on June 20 and runs through July 6. The Fourth of July travel pe­riod is a 78-hour pe­riod from July 3 to July 6.

This hol­i­day travel pe­riod is not only dan­ger­ous here in Ge­or­gia. Data from the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion shows this time of year is par­tic­u­larly deadly na­tion­wide. In 2012, 179 people were killed in crashes be­tween 6 p.m. on July 3 and 5:59 a.m. on July 5. Fur­ther­more, 44 per­cent of those fa­tal crashes in­volved al­co­hol im­pair­ment. Twenty eight per­cent of those crashes in­volved a driver or mo­tor­cy­cle op­er­a­tor with Blood Al­co­hol Con­tent of .15 or higher, which is al­most twice the .08 le­gal limit in all 50 states.

These crashes are also dis­pro­por­tion­ately oc­cur­ring at night. Dur­ing that same 2012 hol­i­day travel pe­riod, more than a third ( 39 per­cent) of driv­ers in nighttime fa­tal crashes were al­co­hol- im­paired, as com­pared to 16 per­cent of driv­ers in fa­tal crashes dur­ing the day.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Oper­a­tion Zero Tol­er­ance, visit www. gahigh­waysafety.org.

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