ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As Labor Day travelers hit the road all over the southeast leading up to the holiday weekend, Georgia and its neighboring states will be sending the message that no matter where you're from, and no matter where you're traveling, impaired driving will land you in jail.
During the 24th annual Hands Across the Border campaign, Georgia law enforcement will be meeting their counterparts in communities near the Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida state lines to conduct road checks. This campaign has had a history of not only catching drunk drivers, but drug offenders, fugitives, drivers with outstanding warrants, unlicensed and uninsured drivers and those transporting improperly restrained child passengers.
Starting today, through Friday, officers throughout Georgia will rendezvous with their neighboring law enforcement peers in communities near the state line to catch impaired drivers entering and leaving the state. They will also gather with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety every evening for news conferences and the traditional handshake to signify their partnership in this year's campaign.
Georgia launches this high-visibility enforcement campaign to put a serious dent in the number of impaired drivers seen at the end of the summer. With the help of the media, those who have been drinking will hopefully never get behind the wheel.
"We have been doing this for a long time," GOHS Law Enforcement Services Director Roger Hayes said. "Unfortunately, the reason we keep doing this campaign is because every year, we catch impaired, unbelted, uninsured and distracted drivers. While we would prefer if these motorists never hit the road, we are committed to taking them off it."
No matter what side of the state line impaired drivers are caught, they will be in the same trouble. The legal blood alcohol limit in all 50 states is .08. Drivers won't be able to claim ignorance of the law as a visitor to Georgia because the limit is the same no matter where you live. They won't get a warning. They will go straight to jail.
"There are a lot of summer destinations between here and our neighboring states," GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. "From coastal beaches and lakeside destinations to mountain retreats and even amusement parks, we've got a lot to offer. But one thing we don't offer is leniency when it comes to impaired drivers. Whether it's drugs or alcohol, law enforcement on both sides of the state lines will find you and you will be arrested."
This year's Hands Across the Border campaign runs concurrent with the nationwide Labor Day impaired driving mobilization, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. In Georgia, it's Operation Zero Tolerance, which means if you're over the limit, you'll be under arrest. GOHS is also coordinating the "100 Days of Summer HEAT" initiative this Labor Day to raise awareness about the deadly consequences of speed, aggressive driving, and failure to use safety belts and child restraints.
For more information about Operation Zero Tolerance, Hands Across the Border, and the "100 Days of Summer HEAT", visit www.gahighwaysafety.org .