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New urgency to ‘Georgia Zero DUI Tolerance’

ALBANY — If you are over the limit, you go to jail. That is the enforcement policy of Georgia’s Zero DUI Tolerance policy for impaired driving.

Officials at all the law enforcement agencies patrolling the metropolitan area joined Lee County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Lewis Harris in saying, “We will be out in force protecting the highways and citizens of Lee County.”

Albany Police Department officers plan to monitor traffic throughout the city including roads near traditional shopping areas such as the Albany Mall.

“We are in complete agreement with the zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving and will adhere to it,” said Phyllis Banks, APD spokeswoman. “Do not drink and drive. If you do, we’ll arrest you.”

This year at holiday time there is a new urgency in cracking down to help keep traffic fatalities down, announced the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

“For the first time in six years, Georgia is on track to experience an increase in traffic fatalities,” said Harris Blackwood, director of the Office of Highway Safety. “If fatalities maintain their current rate, the state will surpass last year’s total of 1,226 deaths on our roadways.”

In addition to the zero tolerance program, Blackwood said that his office also launched Operation Safe Holidays. He asks drivers to be extra careful on state roads starting today and going through Jan. 1. No one wants the state to reach a six-year milestone of traffic deaths.

“While Operation Zero Tolerance is still in effect, we also want to urge everyone to be extra careful as they hit the road this time of year,” Blackwood said. “A great Christmas present for me would be seeing everyone get home safe and sound this holiday season.”

There are a few simple tips to follow from Blackwood’s office to get people home safely if they plan to drink this holiday season.

-- Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;

-- Before drinking designate a sober driver or leave your keys at home;

-- If you are impaired use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.

Law enforcement agencies said that no matter the jurisdiction or the officer, if you are over the limit, you go to jail.