Law Enforcement Crackdown On Drunk Driving Has Begun
By BILLY W. HOBBS
BILLY W. HOBBS/Staff
Trooper 1st Class Mike Callaway and Cadet Harold Tisdale, of the Georgia State Patrol, pulled over several motorists on Washington Road in Thomson on Monday night.
Those who choose to drink and drive this holiday season in McDuffie, Warren and surrounding counties of the Central Savannah River Area should know they are looking at jail time for breaking such a law.
This year is no exception.
This crackdown on drunk drivers is similar to past years with local and state law enforcement agencies targeting these specific drivers on secondary roadways and interstate highways across Georgia and many other parts of the country. Known as Operation Zero Tolerance, the program is aimed specifically at reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries caused by persons who drink or use drugs while driving.
A total of 25 persons died on Georgia highways during the 2008 holiday travel period. Nationally, meanwhile, the fatality figure in 2008 reached 11,733. In each of the crashes involving a fatality on the nation's highways, blood alcohol concentrations of those responsible was .08 percent or higher. Nearly one in four female drivers killed in the crashes during that year also had illegal blood alcohol concentrations.
"The sad fact is one out of three of our fatal highway crashes each year is caused by impaired drivers," says Bob Dallas, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety in Georgia. "Make no mistake. Our message is simple. No matter who you are or what you drive, if you're caught driving impaired, you will be arrested -- no warning tickets, no exceptions and no excuses."
This year, like as in recent years, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety is joining with hundreds of highway safety partners across the Peach State, to once again participate in the Operation Zero Tolerance program. During the campaign, police departments, sheriff's departments and several state agencies, including the Georgia State Patrol, will be out patrolling and looking for those who have had too much to drink.
Law enforcement personnel also will take part in sobriety checkpoints.
In a five-county area around Thomson, troopers with the Georgia State Patrol's Post No. 25 in Grovetown will be responsible for keeping watchful eyes on thousands of motorists during the crackdown period. Those counties include: McDuffie, Warren, Glascock, Columbia and Richmond.
Troopers also remind the motoring public that they can contact Star GSP to report suspected drunk drivers.
The statewide crackdown began Dec. 18 and will run through Jan. 3.
"This campaign is truly about saving lives," Mr. Dallas said in a prepared press statement. "It's not about revenue and it's not about writing more tickets. Too many drivers don't realize the risks involved with driving impaired. During these holidays, celebrations abound, spirits are high and travel increases across America. Unfortunately, drunk driving is usually on the rise as well."