The Union Recorder

Local News

June 24, 2014

Patrols out in full force for busy summer travel season

MILLEDGEVILLE — Friday marked the beginning of Georgia's DUI enforcement campaign Operation Zero Tolerance.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety's (GOHS) Operation Zero Tolerance initiative is in conjunction with the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to crack down on drunk driving during the summer and during the Fourth of July holiday period.

Operation Zero Tolerance runs through July 6.

The Fourth of July travel period is the 78-hour period from Thursday, July 3 to Sunday, July 6.

During the DUI enforcement campaign, law enforcement will be out in force across the state to target impaired drivers through concentrated patrols and sobriety checkpoints. Drivers should expect to see more of Milledgeville Police and Baldwin Sheriff's Office patrol units on the roads.  

“We are committed to working with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety’s initiative to reduce cases of impaired driving," said Maj. John Davis, Milledgeville Police Department patrol commander. "We will be a visible enforcer for the initiative throughout the city during this time."

According to Capt. Michael Lumpkin, head of the patrol division of the sheriff's office, summer is always the busiest time for patrol units in Baldwin County.

"We always find more people traveling during the summer months and we want to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible while on the road," he said.

The consequences of drinking and driving can be deadly, officials say, and it's best to avoid getting behind the wheel when drinking is involved.

"Not only is drinking and driving illegal, both on land and water, it's also dangerous, not only for the offender, but for other motorists as well," Lumpkin said.

Fourth of July travel period crash and injury rates decreased slightly over the last year, according to information from a GOHS press release. Similarly, fatality rates remained even with six over a 30-hour travel period in 2012 and 20 over a 102-hour travel period in 2013. The GOHS, along with law enforcement agencies, plans to continue conducting Operation Zero Tolerance until those figures decrease.

“We are still experiencing one traffic fatality every five hours in Georgia during what is supposed to be a fun, summer holiday,” said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood via release. “That means there are 20 people who won't be celebrating our nation's independence this year.”

Davis points out that the consequences of driving under the influence are far from minor.

"The costs associated with impaired driving are too high when it is so easy to find a safe way home. A DUI can cost you legal fees, your license, your job, but most importantly it can cost lives."

Davis suggests if locals consume alcohol to make sure they have a safe way home by either having a designated driver or calling a local taxi service.

During Operation Zero Tolerance, Lumpkin assures that sheriff's office units will intensify its efforts to locate impaired drivers.  Milledgeville police patrol units will conduct sobriety checkpoints throughout the city.

"We want everyone to enjoy our nation's independence with family and friends, but we also want everyone to have a safe holiday,” Davis said.

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