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Zero tolerance for drunken drivers

Georgia State Senior Trooper Darryl Benton has Fox 31 reporter Jessica Fairley demonstrate a breath analysis machine that measures a drivers BAC or Blood Alcohol Content. Fairley came up with 0.00. At .08 a driver is impaired.

Georgia State Senior Trooper Darryl Benton has Fox 31 reporter Jessica Fairley demonstrate a breath analysis machine that measures a drivers BAC or Blood Alcohol Content. Fairley came up with 0.00. At .08 a driver is impaired.

ALBANY, Ga. — Area law enforcement members came to Veterans Park Thursday to welcome “Operation Zero Tolerance to Combat July 4th Impaired Driving.”

The message was clear: drive drunk or impaired by drugs, and you go to jail. That is, if you live.

According to Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 392 people died nationwide during the 2010 Fourth of July travel period.

“Of those fatalities, 39 percent were in crashes that involved at least one driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher,” Blackwood said. “If motorists don’t drive sober they’ll be pulled over.”

That is if they survive. Dougherty County Police Department Capt. Tom Jackson said he has seen enough death on the highway.

“This is a time to celebrate the founding of our country,” Jackson said. “It should be a time of joy, not sadness because of a deadly crash.”

Jackson and other officers such as Albany Police Department Cpl. Jon Seagroves and various Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Georgia State Troopers also said that impaired means more than drinking.

“We want to get the impaired drivers off the road. It means alcohol and drugs,” Seagroves said. “We will be watching for any signs of driver impairment. We will take you to jail.”

Many didn’t make it to jail. The statistics available for 2010, the most recent calculated, state that 298 people died in Georgia from alcohol-related traffic crashes. That is one quarter of all traffic deaths.

To save lives on the roadways, local law enforcement will be cracking down on impaired drivers through increased sobriety checkpoints, roving and saturation patrols and other enforcement programs as part of the zero-tolerance policy.