GOHS warns drivers to stay safe

ATLANTA (WTOC) - The Governor's Office of Highway Safety warns before St. Patrick's Day that Georgia has a zero tolerance for drunken driving.

One of every three crash deaths in Georgia each year is alcohol-related, according to the GOHS.

On St. Patrick's Day 2009, 103 Americans were killed in traffic crashes. Roughly half of those deaths involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC at or above the illegal limit, according to the GOHS. Thirty-seven percent of drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes nationwide had blood-alcohol concentrations of .08 or above.

GOHS offered tips to stay safe during the St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend.

  • Plan a safe way home before festivities begin.
  • Before you drink, designate someone sober to drive.  Leave your car keys at home.
  • If you're impaired, call a sober friend or taxi or use public transportation to get home safely.
  • If you see an impaired friend try to get in their car, make other arrangements for that person to get home safely.
  • If you see a suspected drunk driver on the road, call authorities.
  • Never serve alcohol to guests under 21-years-of-age.
  • Always serve plenty of food and include soft drinks, juice and water.
  • Stop serving alcohol before the party ends. (Green beer is still beer.) Start serving coffee (but not Irish coffee) and dessert instead.
  • Program local cab company numbers in your cell phone before you party, so a safe ride is just a call away.
  • Pace yourself. Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast.  Eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Never let a friend out of sight if he or she is going to drive impaired.

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