Officers launch safety effort for holiday drivers


By Julie Arrington
Staff Writer

Authorities are taking a no excuses approach to impaired driving through the holiday season.

The statewide Christ-mas/New Year’s Operation Zero Tolerance law enforcement campaign kicked off Friday and ends Jan. 3.

Karleen Chalker, a spokeswoman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies are participating in the effort.

She said in addition to watching for drunk drivers, authorities will look for speeders, those not wearing seatbelts and those not using or improperly using child restraint seats.

“We are going to be doing safety checkpoints throughout the county during this particular crackdown,” Chalker said.

She said this year’s fatal crash rate on Forsyth County roads has dropped by 43 percent from last year.

There were 14 traffic fatalities in 2008. As of Friday, there had been eight in 2009, a decrease Chalker contributed to heavy traffic enforcement.

According to a statement from the Georgia Office of Highway Safety, 25 people died in wrecks during the 2008 Christmas travel period.

It goes on to say that impaired drivers cause one out of three fatal highway crashes each year.

“No matter who you are or what you drive, if you’re caught driving impaired, you will be arrested,” said Bob Dallas, GOHS director. “No warning tickets. No exceptions. No excuses.”