Independence Day weekend brings patrols, new DUI law

Independence Day weekend brings patrols, new DUI law

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Independence Day weekend can be a dangerous time to be a driver in South Georgia.

House Bill 205 goes into effect Saturday. So, if you get caught driving under the influence on the fourth, you could face a more severe punishment, even if its your first offense.

"We're looking for you," Georgia Public Safety Commissioner Mark Donough said. "Are we targeting folks? Yeah, if you're drunk and you're behind the wheel, we are looking for you."

Officials ask that people designate a sober driver this holiday weekend, but say other driver behaviors can be just as dangerous.

"So many people try to say 'I'll have one last cup of coffee and I'll make it in to wherever I'm going'," Governors Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said. "Take your time, make sure you get there safely."

If you're on the road, officers also said to make sure your car is ready for the trip, don't text or use your phone while driving, buckle up and don't drink and drive.

"We know from the enforcement side that DUI is committed 80 times before we actually catch somebody," Donough said. "Think about that: 80 before they first get stopped."

Starting July first, officials hope House Bill 205 will help make their job a little easier and safer. 

It requires first time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock system to their vehicles. If they're to drunk to drive, the car won't start up.

"Gentlemen and ladies, I want you to care for your partner, I want you to come home at night and I want you to wear your vests," MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church said.

A request all hope can be fulfilled giving those on the job something to celebrate this Fourth of July.

The Georgia State Patrol says they'll be doing extra patrols  watching  for impaired drivers this Friday through Tuesday.

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