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Officials urge safety for holiday weekend

Authorities plan to crack down

POSTED: December 30, 2009 4:00 a.m.

Dawson County authorities will be out in force this weekend trying to keep motorists safe as they ring in the New Year.


“Obviously, our officers know New Year’s Eve is a busy night and a time when people drink and drive,” said Dawson County Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten. “Our officers will be on the lookout for those who are driving impaired.”


The Georgia Department of Public Safety is predicting 2,330 vehicle crashes that result in 1,004 injuries and 16 deaths, statewide, between 6 p.m. Thursday and midnight Sunday.


Of the 46 people killed on state roads during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday periods in 2008, nine involved alcohol impaired drivers, according to state figures.


The statewide Operation Zero Tolerance campaign’s goal is to have no alcohol-related driving deaths.


“Operation Zero Tolerance means over the limit, under arrest,” said Bob Dallas, Georgia’s highway safety director. “We support more than 500 agencies conducting their high visibility statewide DUI crackdown.”


Law enforcement will not “hesitate to arrest and impound their vehicles” during the campaign crackdown, Dallas said.


Georgia State Patrol troopers began their holiday safe driving campaign before Christmas, making 146 traffic stops and 89 arrests in Dawson, Forsyth and Lumpkin counties.


According to a spokesman for state patrol Post 37 in Cumming, two people were charged with DUI and three others were injured in the two wrecks reported during the Christmas holiday campaign.


Wooten encouraged revelers “to designate a driver if you plan to drink” and be cautious when driving.


“There are going to be a lot of people out on the roads, so leave early enough to get where you’re going safely,” he said.


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