Monday, June 24, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Indepedence Day is still a week and a half away, but the state's annual holiday push to rid the roads of drunk drivers has already begun.
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety began its Operation Zero Tolerance campaign Friday and will continue it through July 7. The extended campaign comes because during the past two years the state has averaged 88 alcohol-involved crashes between July 3 and July 5, a press release said.
Plus, in a state where alcohol-involved crashes account for 23 percent of traffic fatalities, 2013 has become an especially dangerous. Crash data shows the state had 520 traffic fatalaties as of June 20, above the mark of 499 the state reached as of the same date last year.
"While a 4 percent increase may not seem like a lot to some people, that's an additional 21 people who won't be able to celebrate our nation's independence this year," GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said in the press release. "We're launching Operation Zero Tolerance to not only rid the roads of drunk drivers, but to try and keep our traffic fatalities as low as possible. We join our partners in all 50 states to warn people to drive sober or get pulled over."
The state's enforcement will also be concentrated this summer on Georgia's waterways, since a new boating-under-the-influence law went into effect this spring.
"Here in Georgia, drunk driving won't be tolerated on the road or on the lake," Blackwood said. "Getting drunk boaters off the water helps keep drunk drivers off the road. Nobody should celebrate our nation's independence with a night in jail because they didn't find a sober driver."