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Officials urge safe road, boat travel ahead of holiday

Cpl. Jon Segroves of the Albany Police Department, representing the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, stands with representatives from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia State Patrol at a news conference at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday. The news conference was conducted as a way of raising awareness of the “Operation Zero Tolerance: Land or Water” campaign.

Cpl. Jon Segroves of the Albany Police Department, representing the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, stands with representatives from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia State Patrol at a news conference at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport Monday. The news conference was conducted as a way of raising awareness of the “Operation Zero Tolerance: Land or Water” campaign.

ALBANY, Ga. — Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, both state and local authorities are reminding citizens that drunk driving policies will continue to be enforced both on the roadways and on the waterways.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety conducted a series of news conferences throughout Georgia on Monday as a way of raising awareness on the state’s “Operation Zero Tolerance: Land or Water” campaign.

Expected to be in attendance at the Albany news conference — which took place at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport — was Col. Eddie Henderson, chief of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Highway Safety and Harris Blackwood, director of GOHS.

Those officials, who are traveling throughout the state via helicopter, were unable to make it to Albany due to weather conditions, so area representatives from the three agencies stood in.

Operation Zero Tolerance is an initiative that follows the passage of Senate Bill 136, known as the “Kyle Glover Boat Education Law,” and the “Jake and Griffin BUI Law.” Signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on April 23, the law that became effective May 15 states that the legal blood-alcohol concentration limit to operate a boat is now .08 grams — consistent with the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.

“(We want the public to know) we have partnered together and ensure them we will maintain their safety,” said Capt. Jeff Swift from the DNR on Monday. “(Traveling under the influence) on waterways is just as dangerous as on roadways.”

Dozens of BUI — boating under the influence — incidents have been reported so far this summer, seven of which occurred over the weekend, Swift said.

Capt. Buddy Johnson, representing the Georgia State Patrol post in Albany, said that state troopers will be doing their part to ensure the roadways remain safe.

“We’ve preached it. There is no excuse anymore,” he said. “Last year’s fatality rate doesn’t matter. It needs to be zero; one is too many.”