AUGUSTA, GA (PR) - The Richmond County Sheriff's Office along with many Sheriffs and Police agencies throughout Georgia will be participating in Hand Across the Border again this year during labor day weekend. Agencies from Georgia and South Carolina will be teaming up and working together to help ensure the safety of the motoring public and those using our waterways. Locally, in conjunction with the Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Department of Natural Recourses the Richmond County Sheriff's Office will have increased officer presence during this holiday period.
In Georgia, Operation Zero Tolerance will run in conjunction with the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign from Aug. 21 through Sept. 7. That means whether you hit the road early or choose to celebrate on the holiday weekend, officers will be cracking down on impaired drivers with increased patrols, sobriety checkpoints and a high-visibility presence. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office increased enforcement activities will begin this Thursday, September 3rd and will run through September 7th according to Lt. Lewis Blanchard with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
"Last year during this time period, Georgia saw 15 traffic deaths and 1,218 injuries result from 3,706 crashes. The last thing any Deputy with the Sheriff's Office wants to do as part of his duty is to inform a loved one that his or her family member has been killed in a crash. We have been doing our best to educate, inform, and market safety to the public in an effort to gain voluntary compliance but when those methods fail to work for some individuals, enforcement is the final key component." stated Blanchard.
161 lives were lost that involved drunk drivers in 2013 due to fatalities during the holiday travel period which amounted to 38% of the total fatalities. More than a quarter of those fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol level at least twice the legal limit according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The latest national data available is from 2013; NHTSA stats show 65% of people killed in impaired driving crashes were drunk drivers themselves. It is an unnecessary tragedy that 6,515 drives lost their lives along with 3,561 additional victims.
Drunk driving is an easily preventable crime and there really is no excuse. Plan ahead, have a designated driver, use a taxi or cab company or call a wrecker service and have your car towed home. Each of these options is far less than the several thousand dollars that a DUI will cost and it may prevent you from killing someone, including yourself.