2018-03-14 / Living & Style

Don't drink and drive on St. Patrick's Day

By Robert Hydrick

Motorists are reminded to save their green by not drinking and driving.

Georgia law enforcement agencies will be stepping up impaired driving patrols during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Drivers will be seeing plenty of green leaving their wallets if they make the foolish and illegal decision to drink and drive while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is joining the Safe and Sober Driving Coalition TEAM Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Georgia Department of Transportation to encourage everyone to plan ahead for a sober ride if their St. Patrick’s celebration is going to include alcohol.

The Georgia State Patrol and local law enforcement officers will keep their zero tolerance policy by taking all drunk and drugged drivers they find on the road to jail this weekend and every day of the year.

“TEAM Georgia is committed to its mission of encouraging safe and sober driving choices as a means of reducing transportation crashes, injuries and deaths,” TEAM Georgia Chairman Ron Fennel said. “Our St. Patrick’s Day campaign brings together members of the hospitality industry, restaurants and bars to stand behind a unified message for everyone to have fun but to also be responsible and get home safely.”

According to the National

Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths in Georgia has increased by 32 percent in just two years.

There were 368 alcohol related traffic deaths in Georgia in 2016 compared to 279 in 2014.

According to preliminary data from the Georgia Department of Transportation, 17 people died, and almost 1,600 were injured in more than 4700 crashes on Georgia roadways from March 16-19 last year.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety which consists of the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division made 201 DUI arrests in Georgia over a three-day period during last year’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on Saturday this year, law enforcement officers will be increasing efforts to take drunk and drugged drivers off the road.

“The luck of the Irish will not save you if you make the foolish decision to break the law getting behind the wheel when you are too impaired to drive,” Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said. “When you are planning your celebration for this weekend, go ahead and plan ahead for a sober ride with a designated driver or ride-hailing service. A little planning now can save you plenty of headaches and maybe even your life.”

In addition to designated drivers and ride hailing services, drivers in Georgia can get a free tow and ride home up to ten miles from AAA’s Tow-To-Go service. The free tow and rides from AAA’s Tow-To-Go will begin on Friday morning and end at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 18.

TEAM Georgia partner and sponsor Checker Cab of Atlanta will also provide free rides home from March 16-18.

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