Motorists Reminded To Stay Away From the Wheel if They Plan to Celebrate Labor Day Holiday with Alcohol
Georgia law enforcement officers will continue their zero tolerance policy by taking all impaired drivers to jail

(ATLANTA) -  Motorists planning to end their summer with a trip during the Labor Day holiday weekend are reminded to make sure they do not get behind the wheel if their plans include drinking alcohol.

Those adults planning to drink alcoholic beverages during the long holiday weekend are urged to make plans now for a sober ride home.

The Labor Day holiday weekend travel period will officially begin in Georgia at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 1 and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 4.

"Whether you are going to the beach, lake, mountains or a football tailgate, we want all Georgians to enjoy the last unofficial weekend of the summer," Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety said. "We also want everyone to come home safe, and the way to make sure that happens is to not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking alcohol."

Labor Day weekend marks the end of the "100 Days of Summer" travel period in Georgia and across the nation.

Unfortunately, almost 400 people have been killed in traffic crashes throughout the state since the start of the 100-day summer travel period during the Memorial Day holiday weekend in May of this year.

Georgia law enforcement officers are asking motorists to pay attention to the road like they did during last month's "Operation Southern Shield".

The number of traffic fatalities in Georgia during the highly publicized speeding awareness initiative July 17-23 was 45% lower than the previous week. 

Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows alcohol is factor in one out of every four traffic deaths in the state of Georgia.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, 13 people were killed during the 78-hour Labor Day travel period in Georgia last year.  Troopers also made 320 DUI arrests during last year's holiday weekend, which began at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 2 and ended at 11:59 a.m. on Monday, September 5.

"Not getting a sober ride home after having a few alcoholic beverages because you may only have a short distance to drive is a recipe for disaster," Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Colonel Mark C. McDonough said. "Risking your safety and selfishly risking the safety of somebody else by getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking is not worth it."  

A recent study by WalletHub.com found Georgia ranked 2nd in the nation for the strictest DUI laws as state and local law enforcement officers continue to maintain a zero tolerance policy by taking all impaired drivers to jail.  No warnings.  No excuses.

Motorists can avoid spending their holiday behind bars by designating a driver, calling a cab or ride service, or using AAA's Tow-To-Go which will be providing free rides and tows for up to 10 miles from Friday, September 1 to 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 5.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety's free DriveSoberGA app will also dial the Tow-To-Go number for motorists, as well as provide a list of cab companies in 14 cities around Georgia.

For more information about the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, visit gahighwaysafety.org or www.headsUPgeorgia.com.

Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/gahighwaysafety and on Twitter at @gohsgeorgia for the latest highway safety information.

Media outlets can find video clips with Colonel McDonough and still photos at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/s0iby1mu4rjyp7i/Labor%20Day%202017%20video%20feed.mpg?dl=0

Cut 1 Operation Southern Shield Impact: "So, that effort to watch their speed and to be attentive in their driving, reduced for that period of time the average of fatalities on our roadway.  It is a perfect segue of what can be done if you self-initiate a few behaviors when you are driving."
 
Cut 2 Labor Day travel: "With that event (college football games) and people trying to squeeze that last event in at the end of the summer and all the other stuff that goes on in our busy lives, that means there is going to be a lot of people on our roadways.  Take the time to plan your trip.  It doesn’t matter what you are doing.  Leave time for all of those things that can go wrong.  Don’t make up time on the roadway." 
 
Cut 3 Plan a sober ride home now: "If you put it off and you have had a few beers, you say it no big deal.  I only have a short distance to go.  That is a recipe for disaster.  Risking your safety and selfishly risking the safety of somebody else by getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking is not worth it.  Take the time to prepare and have that designated driver or alternate way home if alcohol is part of your plans."

Cut 4: Seat belts: "Cars are engineered today to provide an area where there is room to live.  Literally tons of engineering have gone into that when an impact occurs, that it provides a safe area. Part of what is going to keep you in that safe area is that seat belt in combination with the air bag in your vehicle.  All you have to do is click that seat belt.  That is all you have to do."