The Calhoun Police Department and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are asking everyone to make the holidays merry by making the decision to never drive after drinking.

Calhoun’s Police Department is joining sheriff’s offices, police departments and the Georgia State Patrol to reduce crashes, deaths, and injuries for the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign from December 14, 2023 through January 1, 2024.

State troopers, sheriff’s deputies and police officers will step up enforcement during the holiday season and will take any driver they find to be over the legal Blood-Alcohol Concentration level of .08 in Georgia to jail.  No warnings. No call a friend to drive you home.  No exceptions. 

“All drunk driving deaths are completely preventable because they are all caused by someone making the wrong decision to drive after drinking.” Chief Tony Pyle said.  “We are warning everyone now is the time to plan a sober ride before the party or celebration because our officerswill not be giving warnings to drunk and drugged drivers we find on the road.  Those impaired drivers will be getting a ride to jail in the back of one of our patrol cars.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 4,500 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the United States in the month of December from 2017 to 2021 and 1,013 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the U.S. in December of 2021.

Federal crash data shows male drivers were four times more likely to be alcohol-impaired and involved in fatal traffic crashes than females in December 2021 and drivers ages 21-34 accounted for the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes in the U.S. in the December 2021.

In Georgia, one out of four persons killed in traffic crashes in December from 2017 to 2021 involved a driver whose BAC was higher than the state’s legal limit and 70 percent of the fatal alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the state in December during this five-year period involved one driver with a BAC that was more than twice the legal limit. 

It is estimated that a DUI arrest can cost up to $10,000 in court fees, fines, attorney fees, and higher insurance premiums.  A DUI conviction may also cost someone their job or prevent them from being hired.  

“The holidays are time for families and friends to celebrate but there are too many families who will be spending this holiday season missing a loved one whose life was ended by a drunk or drugged driver,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said.  “If alcohol is going to be part of the celebration, make sure the plans include for a sober ride and do not let family or friends get behind the wheel if you believe they are too impaired to drive.”

CALHOUN POLICE DEPARTMENT, GOHS, and NHTSA offer the following tips to help stop drunk driving:

  1. Chose a non-drinking person to be the designated driver before going out.
  2. Do not let someone you know get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.
  3. Let friends know they can contact you for a sober ride when needed.
  4. Those hosting a party where alcohol is served should make sure guests leave with a sober driver.
  5. Always wear your seat belt because it is the best defense against impaired drivers.