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Driver saftey stressed at Albany State

Harris Blackwood, left, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, spoke at Albany State University Wednesday about GOHS’s push to reduce highway deaths and injuries in teens and young adults. Present also at the event were Lt. Marcus Guest with the ASU Police and Cara Gloyd, a student at Valdosta State University and a member of the GOHA Teen Driving Commission.

Harris Blackwood, left, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, spoke at Albany State University Wednesday about GOHS’s push to reduce highway deaths and injuries in teens and young adults. Present also at the event were Lt. Marcus Guest with the ASU Police and Cara Gloyd, a student at Valdosta State University and a member of the GOHA Teen Driving Commission.

ALBANY — The director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Harris Blackwood, visited the campus of Albany State University Wednesday in promotion of Teen Drive Safety Week in Georgia and National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. Also speaking was Lt. Marcus Guest with ASU Police.

Although Georgia has seen a steady reduction in teen driver traffic deaths since 2007, Harris said the GOHS is committed to reducing the number even more.

“We want to make sure our youngest drivers are as safe as possible,” Blackwood said. “There are a lot of distractions out there — like texting and driving, radios, air conditioning, having a conversation in the car.”

Harris said that young people should understand that driving and alcohol do not mix — that even if they never have an accident, a charge of driving while intoxicated will stay on their records “forever,” and could keep them from finding the position they want in life.

Guest offered some “sobering” statistics involving college students and alcohol consumption, claiming that 5 percent of the nation’s four-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a direct result of drinking.

“Here at Albany State University we have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs and that’s heavily enforced,” Guest said, “through saturated campus patrols, traffic patrols and dorm patrols.”

Blackwood was direct as well, on the issue of drinking and driving.

“We want our college students to understand that under the age of 21, anything above .02 percent blood alcohol is a DUI and that means you’ll be placed in handcuffs and taken to an adult jail. You’ll have a picture made of you that you don’t want to go on Facebook and it stays on your record for the rest of your life.”

Carla Gloyd is a student at Valdosta State University and a member of the GOHS’s all-teen driving commission.

“In my sophomore year of high school, I lost one of my best friends due to an accident of drinking and driving,” Gloyd said. “I don’t want to see anything like that again. On the commission we have a goal of having zero fatalities. Some people say that’s not realistic and then we say ‘who are you willing to give up?’ We’ve made some suggestions to the GOHS, which are being considered now. I hope they make a difference.”