Designate a driver or face the consequences - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Designate a driver or face the consequences

December 30, 2005

Albany- Zero tolerance, it's the phrase state troopers use when they talk about New Year's Eve patrols. This weekend, they expect to see a noticeable increase in the number of impaired drivers and they won't show mercy.

Thousands of people will head out to parties, whether it's at a friends home or somewhere like here at The Crowbar which is having a big party.

Wherever you're going the State Patrol reminds you to designate a driver, because zero tolerance means whoever has the keys, stays sober. The roads may be crowded this weekend, and more drivers than usual may be impaired.

"Traditionally New Year's Eve is a party night where people go out, go to people's homes for parties to celebrate the year coming in," said Sgt. Jamie Sullivan, Georgia State Patrol.

"New Year's Eve is our biggest night of the year," said John Luttrell, Co-Owner, The Crowbar.

Whether you plan to ring in the New Year at a friends or at a bar or restaurant, troopers say the person behind the wheel should stay sober.

"With the zero tolerance we really mean that, a lot of people think they can have one or two drinks, but they may get a buzz. Its amazing at the slowed reaction a couple of drinks may have on somebody," said Sullivan.

Local bar owners say New Year's Eve typically brings more people out.

"I do refer to it as rookie night, a lot of us in this industry do, reason being it's a night couples, people who don't normally go out, it's their one night of the year to go out and have a good time," said Luttrell.

They'll keep a close eye on customers and warn those who may not know their limits.

"Our bartenders our servers are very strong in watching people to make sure that they haven't had too much to drink, if they do we cut them off immediately," said Luttrell.

"I would make a plan today before the party," said Sullivan.

That plan should include someone who's willing to forgo the alcohol so everyone can remain safe and for those who don't heed the warnings bartenders may find them a ride.

"Well be sure to get them a ride with a friend or we'll call them a cab, or in some instances we'll buy customers cabs, which we don't mind taking care of our clientele," said Luttrell.

The State Patrol Strength Patrols start Friday night. The means, extra officers from the state patrol, county sheriff's office and city police forces will be out patrolling and looking for impaired drivers.

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