GSP Warns Drivers Against Impaired Driving

June 30, 2003

(ATLANTA)-The Georgia State Patrol will be teaming with local law enforcement agencies for a massive enforcement effort against impaired drivers beginning June 27. The campaign is part of Operation Zero Tolerance sponsored by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Colonel George Ellis, GSP Commander, said troopers will be joining police officers and sheriffs' deputies throughout the state for concentrated patrols and sobriety checkpoints beginning June 27 and continuing through July 13. "Tragically, impaired drivers continue to be a menace on our state's roads," Colonel Ellis said. "Operation Zero Tolerance is a campaign to intercept impaired drivers before they cause traffic crashes that kill or seriously injure innocent adults and children."

The enforcement initiative centers around the July Fourth holiday travel period which has a higher number of fatalities where alcohol and/or drugs are contributing factors. Last year, 14 of the 19 traffic deaths during a 102-hour July Fourth holiday period were alcohol or drug related. There were also 3,069 traffic crashes and 714 injuries reported.

This year, the July Fourth holiday period begins Thursday, July 3 at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Sunday, July 6. During the holiday period, the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety are predicting 1,893 traffic crashes, 901 injuries and 19 traffic fatalities.

Colonel Ellis reminds drivers to plan their holiday travel carefully and to be prepared for the summer heat. "Heat takes its toll on motor vehicles and drivers should take steps to avoid mechanical breakdowns," he said. "This is a good time of the year to make sure belts and hoses do not need replacing; tires are properly inflated; and tire treads are sufficient for summer driving." The GSP Commander also cautioned motorists not to leave children and pets alone in vehicles.

The highest number of July Fourth holiday period fatalities was recorded in 1972 when 34 people were killed and the lowest was 2 in 1962 and again in 1984.