Troopers want to keep impaired drivers off the roads - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Troopers want to keep impaired drivers off the roads

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  You've probably noticed the number of cars on Georgia roads are increasing during the holiday season.

Thousands of traffic enforcement officers across Georgia are kicking off a holiday enforcement crackdown they hope will save lives.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety says that drunk driving is one of America's deadliest crimes. Nationwide in 2008, almost 12,000 people died in highway crashes involving drunk drivers.

Friday, Georgia State Patrol Troopers start a holiday enforcement crackdown targeting impaired drivers, because they know in December more people will drink and drive.

 "A lot of parties. People celebrate coming in the New Year, ringing out the old year. So we're targeting, looking for the impaired drivers for the whole month," said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Shawn Urquhart.

In Georgia, there were 7814 alcohol involved crashes in 2008, and 24 people died during the Christmas travel period. One in three Georgia fatal crashes was caused by an impaired driver. And law enforcement says it has to stop.

 "Losing a loved one during the holiday time is very sad, this time of year," Urquhart said.

Sgt. Urquhart has stopped many drunk drivers during the Holidays in her experience, and says most offenders admit they made a mistake getting behind the wheel.

 "A lot of people make the mistake because, they think they are not going to get caught. That's why, it won't happen to me."

But more will be, as the holiday crackdown starts tomorrow, with more sobriety checkpoints, every traffic cop and trooper on duty, some working double shifts through January 3rd, hoping to save lives. 

Last year troopers arrested more than 1,100 people on DUI Charges during the holiday period, and again this year they promise zero tolerance. If you have been drinking and are over the limit, you will be place under arrest.

They say get a designated driver after the party.

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