To crack down on impaired driving during the Labor Day weekend, law enforcement across the state will be aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger by drinking and driving. In Georgia, that means launching the statewide Operation Zero Tolerance campaign in conjunction with Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. No matter where you drive in Georgia, if you're over the limit, you'll be under arrest.
"We want people to know that we won't tolerate drunk driving," said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. "No excuses. No warnings. If people are caught driving impaired, they will be arrested."
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that on average, one person died every 34 minutes during Labor Day weekend drunk driving crashes nationwide in 2012. In Georgia last year, there were 3,497 crashes from Friday, Aug. 30 through Monday, Sept. 2. Unfortunately, 22 people died in those crashes and another 1,161 were injured.
This year's Labor Day travel period will last from Friday, Aug. 29 to Monday, Sept.1. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Operation Zero Tolerance enforcement campaigns will go from Aug. 15 to Sept.1.
"There are so many beautiful lakes and coastal communities to visit in Georgia and we want everyone to enjoy Labor Day weekend and cool off," said Blackwood. "But we also want them to get home safely and this campaign will help ensure that."
NHTSA data also shows that 390 people lost their lives in traffic crashes during Labor Day weekend in 2012. A staggering 25 percent of those crashes involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or more. That's almost twice the legal .08 limit in all 50 states. In addition, approximately 41 percent of drivers killed in those crashes were impaired.
These crashes are also disproportionately occurring at night. Seventy six percent of all drunk driving fatalities over the 2012 Labor Day weekend occurred between 6pm and 5:59am.
The good news is, there are a few simple tips for ensuring a safe holiday weekend:
Plan a safe way home before you start festivities.
Designate a sober driver before you start drinking.
Program the numbers for taxi services or sober ride programs into your cell phone in case you or a friend unexpectedly need a sober ride home. also consider public transportation.
Download the Drive Sober, Georgia app for a list of sober ride services in your area.
If you see a drink driver on the road, contact local law enforcement immediately.
For more information on Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over or Operation Zero Tolerance, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.