ATLANTA, Ga. -- The luck of the Irish won't keep you out of jail for driving drunk, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety warns. Drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit on St. Patrick's Day weekend, which starts Friday, will be arrested. No warnings; no excuses, GOHS officials said.
While Georgia law enforcement agencies maintain the same impaired driving policy throughout the year, officials say, the GOHS is taking special advantage of St. Patrick's Day to remind drivers of the consequences of driving drunk.
According to the GOHS, more than 700 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver during the St. Patrick's Day holiday from 2006 to 2010. Overall, one person is killed in a drunk-driving crash every 51 minutes and a majority of those crashes involve drivers with nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in their blood.
"While the familiar refrain on St. Patrick's Day might be 'Kiss me, I'm Irish,' we'd much rather hear impaired partygoers say 'Drive me, I'm drunk' to a sober friend, family member of taxi driver," GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said.
According to GOHS, St. Patrick's Day drinking drivers are being encouraged to utilize the "Drive Sober, Georgia" smartphone application, available on both Apple and Android devices. The application offers a database of safe and sober ride options around the state, officials say.
The GOHS makes a number of suggestions to ensure a safe conclusion to the popular drinking holiday:
-- Plan a safe way home before the partying begins;
-- Designate a sober driver before you start drinking and leave your car keys at home;
-- Use a taxi, call a sober friend or use public transportation if you're too impaired to drive;
-- Contact local law enforcement if you see a drunken driver;
-- Be prepared to take away someone's keys and find the individual a sober ride home.
For more information on GOHS, call (404) 656-6996 or visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.