Slow down! No drinking and Driving! - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Slow down! No drinking and Driving!

December 29, 2006

Albany - An epidemic. That's what one Georgia State trooper calls speeding and drunk driving in Georgia. He says drivers have complete disregard for laws. But beware, if you break those laws this weekend, you'll be buying jail time.

Troopers like to make higher numbers each year:  More arrests for DUIs, more tickets for speeders, it means they're doing their jobs, and encouraging people to be safer. But there's one area, they never want to see an increase and that's in the number of traffic deaths.

Already this year, the Albany post of the State patrol has worked 19 fatalities, that's five more than they worked last year and one of the deadliest travel periods is just now getting under way. The official travel period didn't kick off until 6 PM, but by 10 Friday morning, troopers had their work cut out for them.

Sgt. Scott Woodell of GSP says, "I personally didn't expect the amount of traffic that was out there today."

And certainly didn't think drivers would be so bold, so brazen, and well, so brainless.  He says, "We're checking people already this morning at 87/90 miles an hour. It's ridiculous." And dangerous.

"That's just a blatant disregard for the speed limit. That's all that is." And a blatant disregard for human life. Just like people who drink and then get behind the wheel.  Sgt. Woodell says, "If you choose to drink and drive on the highways, you're not just taking your life and everybody that's in your vehicle at risk, you're putting everybody you meet at risk."

 And if you think you can go to a party and just have a few, why not go ahead and find a designated driver? "You may think you're an outstanding driver when you've had something to drink, but I'll assure you, you're not," says Woodell.

Although trooper shortages are a problem for State Patrol posts, Commander Woodell says he doesn't believe that's the reason for the increase in fatalities and here's why: Even with the reduction in manpower, they've made twice as many arrests for DUI's and 60% more arrests for speeders and if you are in violation this weekend, prepare to be locked up as well.

The New Year's holiday period runs through Monday at midnight. It's predicted that there will be 2500 wrecks resulting in more than 1100 injuries and 16 deaths. Last year during the same period,15 people were killed.  

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