Don’t wreck the hol­i­days be­fore you can deck the halls

♦ De­cem­ber will bring in­creased DUI en­force­ment to Ge­or­gia

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - From press re­lease

As the cal­en­dar year winds down and hol­i­day fes­tiv­i­ties start up, the Gover­nor’s Of­fice of High­way Safety is once again join­ing the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion to make sure Ge­or­gia’s mo­torists stay off Santa’s naughty list. Whether you’re lo­cal or just in from out of town, driv­ing im­paired will not only get you on that list, but will send you straight to jail.

The rea­son for the mes­sage is all too clear. Dur­ing the 2017 Christ­mas travel pe­riod in Ge­or­gia, there were 15 to­tal traf­fic deaths be­tween Dec. 22 at 6pm and 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 26. Statewide, the state pa­trol alone in­ves­ti­gated 515 traf­fic crashes that re­sulted in 129 in­juries and 10 fa­tal­i­ties. They also ar­rested 192 peo­ple for driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence, while an ad­di­tional 7,323 ci­ta­tions and 12,312 warn­ings were is­sued.

“The hol­i­days are a time for fun, fam­ily and friends, but also a time for us­ing ex­tra cau­tion on the roads” GOHS Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Robert Hy­drick said. “Un­for­tu­nately, al­co­hol at many hol­i­day events con­trib­utes to the num­ber of im­paired driv­ers on our roads. Help us spread the mes­sage that buzzed driv­ing is drunk driv­ing so if you plan to drink, plan ahead for a sober ride home.”

It’s not just Ge­or­gia where DUI crashes are a prob­lem. Ac­cord­ing to NHTSA, 37,133 peo­ple were killed in mo­tor ve­hi­cle traf­fic crashes in 2017, and 29 per­cent of those fa­tal­i­ties in­volved a driver with a blood al­co­hol over the le­gal limit. And it isn’t just al­co­hol that af­fects driv­ing. Drug-im­paired driv­ing is an in­creas­ing prob­lem. The bot­tom line is if you feel dif­fer­ent, you drive dif­fer­ent.

“We want to keep our roads safe this hol­i­day sea­son and help peo­ple un­der­stand that the only time they should be be­hind the wheel is when they are sober,” Hy­drick said. “Driv­ing high or drunk can not only change your life, but the in­no­cent lives of your pas­sen­gers, other mo­torists and their pas­sen­gers, and pedes­tri­ans.

GOHS and NHTSA sug­gest the fol­low­ing safety tips to en­joy a safe night out this hol­i­day sea­son:

If you plan to drink, plan for a sober ride home. If you’re the des­ig­nated driver, take the re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously.

Even if you’ve only had one drink, des­ig­nate a sober driver.

Use rideshare pro­grams or pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

Be pre­pared to take keys away from some­one who is im­paired and call 9-1-1 if you see an im­paired driver on the road.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the im­paired driv­ing pro­gram at the Gover­nor’s Of­fice of High­way Safety, go to www.gahigh­waysafety. org or visit us on so­cial me­dia at www.face­book. com/gahigh­waysafety and @gohs­ge­or­gia on Twit­ter.

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