Troopers Remind Motorists to Drive Responsibly this St. Patrick's Day

March 10, 2009


(ATLANTA) - The Georgia State Patrol is asking the public to help keep Georgia roads safe this St. Patrick's Day by designating a sober driver before the festivities begin if alcohol consumption will be in your plans.  Traffic crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that over the past five years, 38 percent of the traffic fatalities across the country on St. Patrick's Day involved an alcohol impaired driver or motorcycle operator.
      Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said the Georgia State Patrol will have additional troopers from Southeast Georgia assigned to assist in Savannah for the local celebration.  "Troopers will be assisting local law enforcement officers with security for the parade," Colonel Hitchens said.  "Certainly we want everyone to have a good time but also to celebrate responsibly by not operating a motor vehicle if they have been drinking."
      Troopers across the state will be watching for impaired drivers throughout the day and into the evening hours.  Colonel Hitchens said for many people, St. Patrick's Day has become a popular time to celebrate with friends and family.  "Unfortunately, due to the large volume of impaired drivers, the day has also become very dangerous," he said.  "In Atlanta, the GSP Nighthawks DUI Task Force will join troopers from the Georgia State Patrol posts in Kennesaw, Atlanta and Forest Park to patrol Fulton, Cobb, Clayton, Dekalb and Gwinnett counties."
      The Georgia State Patrol also encourages party hosts to take steps in advance to make for a safe celebration.  Hosts should be sure all of their guests designate a sober driver in advance; have the telephone numbers for local cab companies handy; serve lots of food - particularly high-protein dishes; be sure to include plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, desserts and coffee; and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.
      "If you consume alcohol, don't drive.  Troopers will not hesitate to arrest an impaired driver and impound their vehicle," he said.  "Designate a sober driver in advance."  Colonel Hitchens reminds motorists who spot a suspected impaired driver to call Star G-S-P (*477) on their cell phone.  You will be connected to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post.
      The Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks DUI Task Force is funded with a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administered through the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety. 



Contact Information: 
DPS Public Information Office