GOHS is joining the Georgia State Patrol, local law enforcement, TEAM Georgia, MADD Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Transportation in reminding everyone that the state’s zero tolerance policy remains in effect and all drunk and drugged drivers found will not get a second chance just because it’s a holiday. Law enforcement will be on patrol not only on St. Patrick’s Day but also the weekend before the Tuesday holiday with the goal to prevent crashes and to save lives by taking drunk and drugged drivers off the road.”We know that with the emergence of COVID-19 cases, many public gatherings have been cancelled, but if you’re still planning to celebrate, plan to drive sober or have a designated driver no matter what,” GOHS Director Allen Poole said. “We know that St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that includes alcohol for many people so we want to make sure everyone celebrates responsibly.”
In 2018 alone, 73 people were killed nationwide in drunk driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18). And according to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 12 people were killed in 3,137 crashes that happened over that same period in Georgia. Of those crashes that weekend, 119 were caused by drunk or drugged drivers. Overall in Georgia, alcohol-related fatalities accounted for 25 percent of all 2018 traffic fatalities.
“Drunk driving is a completely preventable mistake, but it’s a mistake that can cost you up to $10,000. And if there’s a loss of life from a DUI, that cost is priceless,” Poole said. “The best way to prevent such a tragedy is to plan ahead by designating a driver or scheduling a ride home with a taxi or rideshare service.”
Those on the road during St. Patrick’s Day should also keep an eye out for pedestrians who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety offers the following safety tips and reminders for having a safe holiday if you plan to drink:
- Schedule a ride with a rideshare service or cab company before leaving for your festivities.
- Call AAA Tow-2-Go at (855) 286-9246 for a free ride/tow up to 10 miles from 6 p.m. on March 16 to 6 a.m. on March 18 if you find yourself without a ride unexpectedly. (More info HERE.)
- If you won’t be drinking, let friends and family know you can pick them up if needed.
- Offer to drive if someone is too impaired to get behind the wheel and you are sober to drive.
- Reward designated drivers with free non-alcoholic beverages.