Drinking and driving could prove to be a toxic holiday cocktail
The July Fourth holiday is typically the busiest travel period of the year. The 78-hour holiday period begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, and ends at midnight on Sunday, July 5.
During this period, the Georgia State Patrol will be conducting concentrated patrols and road checks throughout the state.
“Troopers will be out in full force, aggressively targeting motorists who put lives in danger by driving impaired, speeding, and not buckling up,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Last year, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 414 traffic crashes that resulted in 250 injuries during the July Fourth holiday period. Troopers issued 7,463 citations, 12,670 warnings, and made 291 arrests for driving under the influence. State troopers also investigated five fatal traffic crashes, some of which were attributed to impaired driving.
Driving impaired is a serious crime. “If you are caught driving impaired, you will be arrested,” said Colonel McDonough. “Driving while impaired is not worth the risk of killing or seriously injuring yourself or someone else. There are also serious consequences that can result in you losing your driver’s license, and incurring unexpected financial expenses,” he added.
If you will be consuming alcohol, plan a safe way home or designate a sober driver before the celebration begins. Also, if you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, help him or her make other arrangements to get home safely. “Remember that if you see an impaired driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call 911,” said Colonel McDonough.
As you gather this weekend with family and friends to celebrate our country’s independence, make safety a priority during your celebrations. Here are ten safety tips to keep in mind as you travel this holiday period:
1. Make sure that your vehicle is in proper running condition. Inspect belts, hoses, fluid levels, and tire conditions before you begin your trip. Repair any defects immediately.
2. Plan your trip carefully. Allow ample time to reach your destination. Anticipate traffic delays due to volume or a crash that blocks travel lanes.
3. Wear your seat belt. Seat belts save lives. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up before you hit the road, no matter how short the trip.
4. Properly install child safety seats. Georgia law requires children under the age of eight to be in either a car seat or booster seat suitable for their age and height.
5. Obey the speed limit. Exceeding the speed limit reduces the amount of available time needed to avoid a crash. Speed continues to be one of the major contributing factors in fatal traffic crashes that state troopers investigate.
6. Do not leave children and pets in hot cars. Get in the habit of regularly checking the back seat and back floor area for children and animals, each time you exit your vehicle.
7. Avoid distracted driving. Refrain from performing any activity that may take your focus off of the road, such as texting while driving.
8. Avoid long periods of driving without a break. Make frequent rest stops to avoid becoming drowsy behind the wheel.
9. Be courteous to other drivers. Stay alert of your surroundings and show common courtesy to other motorists and pedestrians on the roads.
10. Do not drive impaired. This holiday period, the Georgia State Patrol is participating in the Operation Zero Tolerance campaign, a nationwide mobilization against impaired drivers. State Troopers will be working alongside sheriff’s deputies and police officers to apprehend impaired drivers.
The Georgia State Patrol will also be participating in Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort. This is a nationwide traffic safety initiative among state highway patrols and state police agencies where troopers and officers across the United States and Canada work together during holiday periods to reduce the number of traffic deaths through high visibility patrols and education.