Special to the Journal
ATLANTA, Ga. – (ATLANTA) The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) has launched a life-saving partnership with safe and sober driving coalition TEAM Georgia to make sure Georgia motorists know that if they drive impaired this St. Patrick’s Day, they’ll need a lot more than the luck of the Irish to get out of trouble.
GovGeorgia’s zero tolerance policy toward driving over the .08 blood alcohol limit exists 24/7/365, but GOHS takes advantage of popular drinking holidays to remind motorists that if they’re over the limit, they’ll be under arrest.
Why such a policy? Because the national data shows more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from 2006 to 2010. Overall, one person is killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes and a majority of those crashes involve drivers with almost twice the legal limit.
“While the familiar refrain on St. Patrick’s Day might be ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish,’ we’d much rather hear impaired partygoers say ‘Drive me, I’m drunk’ to a sober friend, family member or taxi driver,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “There are far too many ways to arrange a sober driver before the festivities begin and far too many consequences if you don’t.”
TEAM Georgia’s mission is to foster safe and sober driving habits on Georgia’s roads and waterways so that’s why GOHS will be partnering with them on March 13th to warn people who will be celebrating in Atlanta, that a safe ride home is just a phone call away.
“It is most appropriate during the St. Patrick’s Day period to remind drivers of the negative things that can happen when not drinking responsibly and then attempting to navigate our roads,” said TEAM Georgia board member Bob Cucchi. “Common sense and social responsibility tells us to secure a designated driver who has not been drinking or just call a taxi so you and your party can arrive home or at some other destination safely.”
In addition to warning Georgia motorists that increased enforcement on St. Patrick’s Day will no doubt catch up with them if they decide to drive impaired, GOHS is also asking partygoers to utilize the “Drive Sober, Georgia” smartphone app. If they find themselves without a sober ride home, users can download the app (available on both Apple and Android markets) to search a database of safe and sober ride options all over the state. Some programs are free and some are fee-based, but either way, the “Drive Sober, Georgia” app means there is no excuse for driving home drunk on one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year.
The good news is, there are a few more easy ways to ensure a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day: plan a safe way home before the festivities; designate a sober driver ahead of time and leave your car keys at home; use a taxi, call a sober friend or use public transportation to get home safely; contact police if you see a drunk driver; and be prepared to take someone’s keys away and find them a safe ride home if they’re too drunk to drive.
For more information about this and other impaired driving awareness efforts, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org or call 404-656-6996. TEAM Georgia can also be reached by visiting www.teamgeorgia.net or calling 478-957-8252.