(Media release from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety):

Making the wrong and illegal decision to drink and drive could cost you plenty of green in a DUI arrest. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is joining state troopers and local law enforcement officers across Georgia in reminding drivers before St. Patrick’s Day to plan ahead for a ride with a sober driver before the celebration begins.
State troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and police officers across the state know there will be a greater probability of drunk and drugged drivers on the road during the extended St. Patrick’s Day weekend and will step up DUI enforcement with patrols and sobriety checkpoints.
With the city of Savannah expecting large crowds for their first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in three years, GOHS, Georgia State Patrol, local Savannah area law enforcement agencies, and GOHS Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (H.E.A.T.) units will once again conduct sobriety checkpoints in the Chatham County area starting Thursday and continuing through the weekend.
“The time has come to put the brakes on the deadly crashes we have seen on roads in Georgia and across the nation in the last two years,”  Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said.  “All drunk driving deaths are preventable because they are caused by someone making the wrong decision to get behind the wheel when they have been drinking.  If alcohol is part of the celebration, do not choose to get behind the wheel because those drivers found over the limit will be taken to jail.  No excuses. No warnings.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS),  half of the fatality crashes in the United States over a 12-hour period from 6:00 p.m. on March 17 through 6:00 a.m. on March 18 from 2011-20 involve a driver whose Blood-Alcohol Concentration level (BAC) was .08 or higher.
In Georgia, alcohol is a factor in approximately one out of every four traffic deaths each year, but that number rose to 30 percent in persons killed in drunk-driving crashes over a 12-hour period from 6:00 p.m. on March 17 through 6:00 a.m. on March 18 from 2011-20.
According to FARS data, there has only been one fatal vehicle crash in Chatham County during the 12-hour window from 6:00 p.m. on March 17 through 6:00 a.m. March 18 from 2016-20, and no fatal vehicle crashes involving drunk drivers during this same time period.  There have been five pedestrians killed in crashes in Chatham County on St. Patrick’s Day from 2016-20, and none of those crashes involved a drunk driver.
The number of alcohol-related traffic deaths in Georgia increased six percent over a five-year period from 2016 (278) to 2020 (402), and the overall number of traffic deaths increased by seven percent over the same period from 1,556 in 2016 to 1,654 in 2020.
“Our law enforcement officers do not want to arrest anyone for DUI, but they know every DUI arrest they make is potentially one less family they have to notify that a loved one is not coming home because of a drunk driver,” Poole said. “Taking a few minutes to plan a sober ride before any event involving alcohol will allow you to enjoy the time with your friends without the worry of how you are getting home.”
The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and NHTSA offer the following drunk-driving prevention tips:

  • Plan ahead for a ride with a sober driver when alcohol is going to be part of whatever you are planning.
  • Designate a sober driver before going out.  Be a good friend and rotate being the designated driver.
  • Reward designated drivers with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Arrange a sober ride for a friend who is about to drive after drinking.
  • Report any suspected drunk driver on the road to your local law enforcement agency.
    For more information on GOHS’ impaired driving awareness programs, visit