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Albany drivers to expect zero tolerance for drunk driving

ALBANY — The Governor’s Office of Highway safety has a simple message for holiday revelers this season: Stay sober while you’re driving or risk going to jail.

The agency warns that law enforcement will be out in full force to crack down on drunk drivers through the New Years holiday. Motorists will learn that if they’re over the limit, they’ll be under arrest, the release states.

“If you are over the limit (.08 blood alcohol content) you will go straight to jail. No warnings. No excuses,” said Governor’s Office of Highway Safety director Harris Blackwood in a statement.

Captain Tom Jackson with the Dougherty County Police Department wholeheartedly agrees, adding that “blowing” a lower number than the magic .08 is no guarantee you’ll be allowed to luxury of sleeping in your own home.

“If we stop you for erratic driving or reasonable suspicion you’ve been drinking, you can still be charged with DUI under the guise of ‘less safe,’” Jackson said. “If your driving is impaired by alcohol or drugs, even if you’re under the limit, there are ways to demonstrate that.”

According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were 1,119 alcohol-related crashes in the state between Nov. 20 and Dec. 31. last year — up from 997 in 2011 and 836 in 2010. The 2012 crashes resulted in 679 injures and 20 deaths, the agency states.

The safety agency points out that drunk drivers often face not only jail time but the loss of their driver’s licenses, higher insurance rates and dozens of other unanticipated expenses, ranging from attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs and lost wages due to time from work. Even worse, a drunk driver can cause a traffic crash that claims someone’s life or their own.