Operation Zero Tolerance targets drunk drivers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Operation Zero Tolerance targets drunk drivers

December 15, 2006

Albany-  If you're even thinking about drinking and driving, listen up.  Starting Friday night, the Governor's zero tolerance campaign is underway.  Sixteen hundred Georgians are killed every year in drunken driving crashes, now state troopers are targeting impaired drivers in an effort to lower that number.

If you decide to have a few drinks at a holiday party before you hit the highway, you are 11 times more likely than a unimpaired driver to die in a crash, and if that doesn't scare you, one family's loss at the hands of a drunk driver might.

It's been 8 1/2 years since 18 year old Adam Powell was killed by a drunk driver. One of his own friends who passed out at the wheel after a night of partying, hit Adam's car head-on on Whispering Pines Road.

"It's hard at the holiday's and on his birthday because that emptiness is always there and you really when you lose somebody in your family you really have no heart in doing anything, celebrating anymore," said Nancy Powell, drunk driving victim.

It's also why law enforcement officers are kicking off Operation Zero Tolerance, to keep impaired drivers off Georgia's highway and to keep other families from having to deal with the same pain.

"Should my family be at risk because you want to consume alcohol at a party and you don't want to make arrangements to get yourself home safely at night. Usually the innocent are the ones who die in the accidents and fatal crashes like that so we're concentrating on those drivers," said Lt. T.L. Jackson, Dougherty County Police.

Now through the end of the year, drivers should expect to see roadblocks like this one, and if you're over the limit, to avoid being arrested you should designate a driver.

"You have friends out there or colleagues that don't drink have that person be the one that's going to drive you home or have them take more than one of you home, make a set up a pre-arranged plan," said Jackson.

The message is clear for everyone to see on Adam's mother's checks and one she hopes others will remember before they decide to drink and drive.

"When you see people Adam graduated with, they're getting married, you see an announcement in the paper where they graduated from college, they're getting married, they're having kids, and you think Adam, we're missing out on all of that," said Powell.

The friend who hit and killed Adam Powell, 17-year old Brandon Carswell, spent two years in a state prison, remains on probation, and had to pay fines and Adam Powell's funeral expenses.

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