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Warning: Don't drink and drive
DUI
The sheriff's office will be working to get impaired drivers off the road during the 78-hour holiday travel period that begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at 11:59 a.m. Monday. - photo by File photo

SPRINGFIELD  -- The Effingham County Sheriff's Office and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are warning everyone before the long Fourth of July weekend to make the safe and smart choice to not drink and drive.

 

The sheriff's office will be working to get impaired drivers off the road during the 78-hour holiday travel period that begins at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at 11:59 a.m. Monday.

Georgia law enforcement officers have a zero tolerance policy for DUI drivers and this warning from the sheriff's office is the only one that will be issued.

Any person found to be operating a motor vehicle over the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Georgia of .08 or higher will be arrested.  No excuses.  No exceptions.

Drunk driving deaths are senseless because they are all caused by someone making a selfish and poor decision to drive when they know they should not be behind the wheel, If you are planning to include alcohol in your holiday festivities, then plan now to have a ride with a sober driver because our officers will be working during the weekend, and they will not be giving warnings for drunk driving.

 

This is the second consecutive year July 4 will fall on a weekend and the data in recent years unfortunately has shown an increase in the number of people killed in traffic crashes compared to years when the holiday is observed on a weekday.

According to preliminary data reported to the Georgia Department of Transportation, there were 18 people killed in traffic crashes last year in Georgia from 6 p.m July 3-11:59 a.m. July 5, with 11 people dying in crashes on July 4. Between 2005-2019, one-third of the fatal motor vehicle crashes in Georgia on July  involved a driver whose BAC was higher than the legal limit in Georgia. 

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 38 percent of drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States over the July 4th holiday period from 2015-19 had a BAC of .08 or higher.  In 2019, almost 70 percent of those who died in alcohol-impaired crashes in the United States were in a crash involving one driver or motorcycle operator who’s BAC was double the legal limit.

 

“We do not want anyone to miss seeing firework celebrations this July 4th because jail cells do not have windows,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said.  “Every drunk or drugged driver our officers take off the road is potentially one fatal DUI crash they have prevented, but we are asking everyone to do their part in preventing DUI crashes by making the right decision to pass the keys to a sober friend or call a ride-share service or cab.”

A DUI arrest in Georgia could potentially cost someone up to $10,000 in fines, court costs, legal fees and higher insurance premiums.   A DUI arrest could cost someone their job and a DUI conviction could possibly prevent someone from being hired.

 

ECSO, GOHS, and NHTSA offer the following tips to help prevent drunk driving crashes:

1.    Chose a non-drinking person to be the designated driver before going out.

2.    Do not let someone you know get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.

3.    Let friends know they can contact you for a sober ride when needed.

4.    Those hosting a party where alcohol is served should make sure guests leave with a sober driver.

5.    Always wear your seat belt because it is the best defense against impaired drivers.