Law enforcement showing zero tolerance for drunken driving

Through New Year’s Day, law enforcement in Gwinnett and throughout the state will be out in full force cracking down on drunken drivers.

The annual holiday campaign of Operation Zero Tolerance is now underway, and state and local law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers who exceed the legal .08 BAC limit.

“You will see troopers, police officers and deputies making lots of stops during this highly visible enforcement period and if they suspect anyone is driving while intoxicated, they will show zero tolerance,” said Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood. “If you are over the limit, you will go straight to jail. No warnings. No excuses.”

Last year between Nov. 20 and Dec. 31, there were 1,119 alcohol-related crashes, up from 997 in 2011 and 836 in 2010. Those crashes in 2012 resulted in 679 injuries and 20 deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the holiday season is a particularly deadly time due to the increased number of drunken drivers on roadways. In the Decembers from 2007 to 2011, there were 4,169 people killed in crashes that involved drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. Of the 32,367 people killed in traffic crashes nationwide in 2011, 31 percent were in alcohol-related crashes.

“The December holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year and we are going to keep our roads safe for holiday travelers heading to visit family and friends,” Blackwood said. “This holiday and every day, we are showing zero tolerance for drunk drivers. If you choose to drive drunk, you will get caught, you will be pulled over and you will be arrested.”

To learn more about impaired driving safety and consequences as well as the Operation Zero Tolerance campaign, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.