2008-12-25 / Front Page

Holiday partiers need to arrange for designated driver

Georgia State Troopers are cautioning anyone who will be hosting or attending a holiday party this year to plan ahead and make sure you have a designated driver. Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers and Department of Public Safety Officers from the Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police divisions will be concentrating heavily on impaired drivers throughout the holiday season.

"Now through the end of the year is a period when law enforcement officers see an increase in the number of impaired drivers on Georgia roads," Hitchens said. "Often the impaired driver has been to a holiday party and didn't plan for a designated driver." He said troopers and officers will not hesitate to arrest an impaired driver and tow their vehicle.

"It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to encounter an impaired driver this time of year on weekday afternoons," he said. "That is why we remind drivers to concentrate on safe driving practices on every trip they make."

Hitchens said drivers should remain alert for the possibility of encountering an impaired driver. "Watch for drivers who are weaving, traveling without their headlights at night, or making sudden driving maneuvers that create traffic hazards," he said. Troopers and DPS officers are reminding motorists this week to make sure seat belts are worn at all times and that adults transporting children have checked to make sure children are properly restrained. Motorists who see possible impaired drivers can report the vehicle to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post by calling Star G-S-P (*477) on their cell phone.

Hitchens said planning a party with safety in mind helps everyone enjoy the holiday season. He called on party hosts to make a special effort to identify designated drivers and plan to have non-alcoholic beverages available for them.

The Georgia State Patrol will be participating with law enforcement officers across the United States in Operation Zero Tolerance, the nation's high-visibility impaired driving enforcement program. This year's campaign begins Friday, December 19, and ends Sunday, January 4, 2009.

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