Is the other driver drunk?

Published: Jun. 10, 2014 at 9:43 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2014 at 9:43 PM EDT
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GSP Sgt. Dana Harnage
GSP Sgt. Dana Harnage
Georgia State Patrol Sgt. First Class Shawn Urquhart
Georgia State Patrol Sgt. First Class Shawn Urquhart

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The driver in the car next to you could be drunk or drugged.  State troopers say impaired driving is a bigger problem this time of year.  They arrested 27 people for DUI in Albany just Saturday.

Troopers were not surprised by the large number of DUI arrests they made Saturday in Albany.

They know with warm weather, more people are enjoying themselves, often drinking and getting behind the wheel.

Georgia State Patrol Sgt. First Class Shawn Urquhart said, "Whether it be a beer, a mixed drink.  They constantly continue to violate the law.  Everybody thinks, well I won't get stopped.  It ain't going to happen to me."

Many of the DUI suspects were also charged with open container, for having an alcoholic drink in the car while driving.  Some even had children in their cars.  Urquhart said "We're not locking you up for being drunk.  We're locking you up for driving under the influence of alcohol.  It's impaired your judgement and your ability to operate your vehicle safely."

Many Troopers are also trained to spot people high on prescription pills or narcotics. GSP Sgt. Dana Harnage said "We're seeing more and more people that are intoxicated on prescription pills.  You see a lot with pain killers.  People that are injured. They don't take the prescription as prescribed."

Drug Recognition experts say they are seeing more people combining anti-depressants and alcohol, doubling the intoxication power.  So troopers are holding road checks to get intoxicated drivers off South Georgia roads crowded with summer travelers. Urquhart said

"People are traveling.  Going on vacation.  So to get the impaired drivers off the road will make it safer for these people that are moving around." During Saturday's road checks troopers also made 8 arrests for misdemeanor or felony drug possesion, seven for suspended driver's licenses, and arrested two wanted people.

Memorial Day Albany Post Troopers made 14 DUI arrests during regular patrols, so the number of people drinking and driving has increased. Troopers warn they will hold more road checks, and urge people to get a designated driver.

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