To combat impaired drivers, the GOHS will be launching its annual summer campaign of “Operation Zero Tolerance: Over the Limit, Under Arrest” on June 22. Lasting through the July Fourth holiday travel period, the campaign will include the participation of hundreds of law enforcement partner agencies from across Georgia in conjunction with the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 392 people were killed across the country during the Fourth of July travel period in 2010. Of those deaths, 39 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
“July Fourth is a time we celebrate our nation’s independence,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the GOHS, “but we’re hoping this year, Georgia motorists will declare their independence from drunk driving.”
Also in 2010, the state experienced 298 alcohol-related fatalities, which accounted for a quarter of all traffic deaths. Pick-up truck drivers were most likely to have a BAC of .08 or higher in fatal crashes while Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Chatham and Richmond counties had the most alcohol-related fatalities of all 159 counties in Georgia. Of all Fourth of July impaired driving fatalities in 2010, 46 percent were between the ages of 18 and 34.
To save lives on roadways this Fourth of July, local law enforcement will be increasing sobriety checkpoints, employing roving and saturation patrols as well as using other enforcement methods.
“The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays due to an increase in impaired driving fatalities,” Blackwood said. “Too many people die behind the wheel each year due to those who choose to drink and drive so our officers will be out in full force showing zero tolerance for impaired drivers. If they drive impaired in Georgia, they will be caught and they will be arrested. No warnings. No excuses. If they don’t drive sober, they will get pulled over.”
For more information on Operation Zero Tolerance and the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit gahighwaysafety.org or nhtsa.gov.