Ga. officials warn motorists to stay safe the St. Patrick’s Day

ATLANTA — The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and safe and sober driving coalition TEAM Georgia have teamed up to make sure Georgia motorists know that if they drive impaired this St. Patrick’s Day, they’ll need a lot more than the luck of the Irish to get out of trouble.

Georgia has a zero tolerance policy toward driving over the .08 blood alcohol limit. GOHS and TEAM Georgia want those celebrating popular drinking holidays like St. Patrick’s Day to have fun with friends and family, but also remember that if they are over the limit behind the wheel, they’ll be under arrest.

Last year, 161 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Georgia. That number has increased by more than 6 percent since 2012. The 9,300 alcohol-related crashes last year also resulted in 5,644 injuries.

“We’ve lost far too many people on Georgia’s roads to drunk driving,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. “Don’t be another number on that list this year. Designate a sober driver before you make your first toast.”

TEAM Georgia’s mission is to foster safe and sober driving habits on the state’s roads and waterways. GOHS partnered with the organization on March 14 to warn people who will be celebrating that a safe ride home is just a phone call or smartphone tap away.

“We want to remind drivers of the negative things that can happen if they decide to navigate our roads after drinking on St. Patrick’s Day,” said TEAM Georgia Chairman Ron Fennel. “Secure a sober, designated driver before your night begins, or simply call a taxi or use GOHS’s smartphone app so you and your party can arrive home safely.”

Law enforcement patrols will be stepped up during St. Patrick’s Day, and GOHS is also asking partygoers to utilize its Drive Sober, Georgia app. If revelers find themselves without a sober ride home, they can download the app (available on both Apple and Android devices) to search a database of safe and sober ride options in their area. Some programs are free and some are fee-based, but either way, the Drive Sober, Georgia app means there is no excuse for driving home drunk.

There are a few more easy ways to ensure a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day: plan a safe way home before the festivities; designate a sober driver ahead of time and leave your car keys at home; use a taxi, call a sober friend or use public transportation to get home safely; contact police if you see a drunk driver; and be prepared to take someone’s keys away and find them a safe ride home if they’re too drunk to drive.

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