Thomasville Times Enterprise

December 12, 2013

'Zero Tolerance' for drinking and driving over holidays

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — It’s that time again where many people will be travelling to various destinations to visit their families and friends for the holidays.  It’s also a dangerous time as well.  During the holidays, there are many parties, festivals, and celebrations that will increase the likelihood of impaired driving on the roadways. 

“Operation Zero Tolerance” is Georgia’s high visibility impaired driving enforcement program that is coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.  The program is part of the national mobilization against impaired driving called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

The Thomasville Police Department would like to take this time to remind motorists that impaired driving is against the law 365 days a year.  And while Operation Zero Tolerance is still in effect, we also want to urge everyone to be extra careful as they hit the roads during this holiday season.

Statistics show, the holiday season isn’t just dangerous in Georgia.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 33780 people were killed in traffic crashes across the country in 2012.  The State of Georgia had 1192 of those fatalities and 25 percent (301) were alcohol related. 

Thomas County had nine (9) traffic fatalities in 2012; three (3) of those nine (9) were impaired drivers.

Alcohol and drugs are usually identified as major contributing factors and about half the crash victims are unbuckled when they die.   Impaired driving is no “accident”:  It’s one of America’s most often committed and deadliest crimes.

While the loss of life is tragic enough, drunk driving can also create a tremendous financial burden.  Statistics show that the average cost of a DUI can climb to nearly $10,000.  It’s imperative that Georgia Motorists don’t continue their Christmas partying behind the wheel.  Law Enforcement all over the state will be cracking down on impaired drivers and they will not hesitate to send you to jail, even if it is Christmas.

Operation Zero Tolerance means you never receive just a warning or citation.  Impaired motorists caught driving at or over the 0.08 (BAC) limit will be arrested. 

The good news is there are a few simple tips to get home safely if you plan to drink this holiday season:

Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;

Before drinking, designate a sober driver;

If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend/family member or public transportation.

Operation Zero Tolerance will run fromFriday through Jan.1   The Thomasville Police Department feels that it’s not about writing more tickets…it’s about saving lives.   Remember to “Buckle-Up. Hang-Up. Slow Down and Drive Sober.”