2007-12-26 / Community

Troopers prepare for impaired driving crackdown

Troopers prepare for impaired driving crackdown

ATLANTA - The Georgia State Patrol is cautioning anyone who will be hosting or attending a Holiday party this year to plan ahead and make sure you have a designated driver. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday that Georgia State Troopers, as well as the Department's Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police Officerswill be keeping a close watch for impaired drivers during their regular patrols.

"Now through the end of the year is a period when law enforcement officerssee an increase in the number of impaired drivers on Georgia Roads," Colonel Hitchens said. "Often the impaired driver has been to a holiday party and didn't plan for a designated driver." He said troopers and officerswill not hesitate to arrest an impaired driver and have their vehicle towed.

Colonel Hitchens noted that impaired driving is often associated with New Year's Eve but is also a problem in the weeks before the celebration. "It is not uncommon for law enforcement officersto encounter an impaired driver this time of year during the afternoon, weekday hours," he said. "That is why the Georgia State Patrol is reminding drivers to concentrate on safe driving practices on every trip they make."

Troopers and DPS officersare reminding motorists to make sure seat belts are worn at all times and that adults transporting children have checked to make sure children are properly restrained. Once on the road, Colonel Hitchens said drivers should remain alert for the possibility of encountering an impaired driver. "Watch for drivers who are weaving, traveling without their headlights at night, or making sudden driving maneuvers that creates a traffic hazard," he said. He also cautioned everyone to remain alert for impaired drivers even in parking lots or while crossing streets as a pedestrian. He reminded drivers who see possible impaired drivers to report the vehicle to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post by calling Star G-S-P (*4770 on their cell phone.

Colonel Hitchens called on party hosts to make special effort to identify designated drivers and plan to have non-alcoholic beverages available for them. He said [planning a party with safety in mind helps everyone enjoy the holiday season.

The Georgia State Patrol will be joining law enforcement officers across the United States for Operation Zero Tolerance, the nation's high-visibility impaired driving enforcement program. The December campaign begins Friday December 14 and ends New Year's Day.

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