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DUI checkpoints going up this weekend
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ATLANTA -- For traffic enforcement officers across Georgia, the weekend-long St. Patrick's Day celebration is hauntingly familiar. During an average St. Patrick's Day weekend here, a dozen people will die as a result of alcohol-related crashes.
So DUI task forces are gearing-up to save lives on Georgia highways and that means plans to launch additional sobriety checkpoints. Why the emphasis on checkpoints?
"Because sobriety checkpoints are the most effective enforcement tools we have for stopping impaired driving," says Bob Dallas, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. "If drunk drivers dread sobriety checkpoints, it's because they're so effective."
The GOHS checkpoint strategy is a data-based decision supported by CDC research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently determined sobriety checkpoints to be the single most effective DUI countermeasure. The CDC conducted a systematic review of 23 studies on the effects of sobriety checkpoints and concluded that these roadchecks can successfully reduce alcohol-related crashes and fatalities by an average 22-percent.
"On the highway we see real sobriety checkpoint results measured in lives saved every week," says Captain Matt Libby at the Port Wentworth Police Department. The 18-year veteran patrol officer recently witnessed the effectiveness of sobriety roadchecks when the state highway safety office conducted Operation Rolling THUNDER in the Savannah-Chatham County high crash corridor. The Savannah initiative produced 96 DUI arrests during 19 enforcement days, primarily from sobriety checkpoints.
"Ask any traffic enforcement officer. There's no question sobriety roadchecks are the right way to catch impaired drivers," Libby said. "They're the most effective deterrent to prevent drinking and driving today."
Recent CDC research shows the greatest benefit of sobriety roadchecks may be that they can help target drunk drivers at even higher impairment rates, above the illegal .08 BAC level, and produce a 24-percent reduction in the ranks of those impaired drivers as well.
"Responsible drivers know the delay for a sobriety roadcheck is only about as long as a red light at a busy intersection," says GOHS Director Bob Dallas. "And they know their patience is worth the wait to keep our highways safe. Studies place public approval ratings for sobriety checkpoints around 75-to-90-percent. And community support doesn't dissipate after our mobilizations are underway."
Last year on St. Patrick's Day nearly half of all drivers involved in fatal crashes nationwide had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of (.08) or above. The cost of these alcohol-related crashes to society each year totals over $100 billion nationwide.
For more information on impaired driving prevention this St. Patrick's Day see, or, or visit us on the web at

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