As the calendar year winds down, the holiday festivities start up. To make sure all Georgia motorists stay off Santa’s “naughty” list, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is once again partnering with safe driving coalition Team Georgia for a reminder to drive sober or have a designated driver ready before you head out to holiday festivities.
The Safe Holiday campaign, which urges businesses and private party hosts to make the safety of their guests and patrons the reason for the season, involves area bars and restaurants displaying Safe Holiday information, offering a free non-alcoholic drink to designated drivers and informing patrons about safe rides home through AAA Tow to Go and Checker Cab. The program reaches thousands of Georgia businesses with safe celebration suggestions, as well as safety and legal reminders for partygoers.
“Holidays are about family and festivities,” TEAM Georgia Chairman Ron Fennel said. “We urge drivers to observe safe and sober practices to assure that families may travel to gather safely this holiday season. Distracted or impaired driving often endangers all drivers, passengers and pedestrians. We wish a safe holiday for everyone.
The reason for the message is all too clear. During the 2017 Christmas travel period in Georgia, there were 15 traffic deaths between Dec. 22 at 6pm and 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 26. Statewide, the state patrol alone investigated 515 traffic crashes that resulted in 129 injuries and 10 fatalities. They also arrested 192 people for driving under the influence, while an additional 7,323 citations and 12,312 warnings were issued.
“We want to keep our roads safe this holiday season and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober,” GOHS Communications Manager Robert Hydrick said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling or acting drunk. You still may be too impaired to drive. So if you’re planning on drinking, plan for a designated driver first.”
It’s not just Georgia where holiday drunk driving crashes are a problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2017, and 29 percent of those fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol over the legal limit.
AAA will also be offering their free Tow To Go program from Friday, December 21 to 6 a.m. on January 2. Program guidelines can be found at https://autoclubsouth.aaa.com/safety/tow_to_go.aspx. To take advantage of Checker Cab’s free holiday ride offer, which also runs through Jan. 2, visit http://www.atlantacheckercab.com/ for more details.
For more information on TEAM Georgia, visit www.teamgeorgia.net and for more information on GOHS and its impaired driving initiatives, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.