Georgia State Patrol are cautioning drivers to plan for a sober designated driver if alcohol consumption will be part of their holiday celebrations this year. Troopers will be keeping a close eye out for impaired drivers now through the end of the year.
Colonel Mark McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers will be patrolling throughout the upcoming holiday periods with enforcement emphasis on impaired drivers, unrestrained drivers and passengers and drivers exceeding the speed limit.
"Each holiday period, troopers are called to investigate traffic crashes involving serious injuries or fatalities, and these crashes could have been prevented," he said.
The Christmas holiday travel period began Friday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. and ends Tuesday night, Dec. 25. The New Year's holiday period begins Friday, Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. and ends Tuesday night, Jan. 1, 2013. Both holiday periods are 102-hours long.
Last year during the Christmas holiday period, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 289 traffic crashes which resulted in 182 injuries and one fatality. Troopers arrested 139 people for driving under the influence during the 78 hours of the holiday period. During the New Year's holiday period, troopers investigated 296 traffic crashes in Georgia that resulted in 172 injuries and seven traffic deaths. During New Year's holiday period patrols, 262 people were arrested for driving under the influence.
State troopers, Motor Carrier Compliance officers and Capitol Police officers are also participating in Operation Zero Tolerance, Georgia's high visibility impaired driving enforcement program. DPS troopers and officers will be working with local law enforcement agencies through the New Year's holiday period to intercept impaired drivers on Georgia roads.
This weekend is also Life Saver Weekend to call attention to the dangers of driving while impaired and to encourage all drivers to use caution while they travel this holiday season. Life Saver Weekend is part of Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
McDonough reminds drivers to plan their travels carefully and make sure your vehicle is ready for a long trip by checking the pressure in the tires; making sure the windshield wiper blades are not cracked; checking that all headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and tag lights are working; and checking the vehicle's fluid levels.
"Before leaving on the trip, make sure everyone is properly restrained, take frequent rest stops along the way, and don't speed," he said.