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Authorities give holiday warnings to reduce injury numbers

Georgia law enforcement officials have issued their annual notice to citizens to drive sober and alert during the upcoming holidays. Of course, that is a common sense warning that all citizens are expected to honor intensively during the perilous holiday traffic season. Each year, however, there are scores of persons who ignore the risk of injury or death by driving impaired or without paying attention to their driving.

An official of the Department of Highway Safety and a Georgia State Patrol Captain issued clear admonitions to drivers that they must put their cell phones down while driving. They counseled citizens to leave for their destination early and to have a sober designated driver onboard if they intend to drink during holiday festivities. They asked people to call them immediately if they see another driver who appears to be impaired, indicating that they will respond to the call "as fast as we can."

Starting on Friday, Dec. 18, Georgia traffic officials and law enforcement are implementing Operation Zero Tolerance, which will run through Jan. 2. State Patrol officers and traffic police will be on the lookout for speeders, looking for seat belt use and implementing sobriety checkpoints. They will also be intensifying their surveillance for the use of cell phones.

According to the spokesman for the State Patrol, more officers will be on the road during the Zero Tolerance period. He also stated that the great increase in traffic accidents from last year resulted in a corresponding increase of incidents of serious injury and death. He attributed the increase largely to the use of cell phones. He stressed the vital importance of the distracted driver problem, both during the holidays and over the rest of the year.

However, driving under the influence in Georgia is also treated very seriously, and he stated that anyone caught driving impaired will be "going to jail." When a person causes an accident from distracted driving or impairment, the individual will also be liable for damages for injury and death to victims of the accident. Those injured may bring claims for personal injury compensation and, in the event of death, a victim's estate may make a claim against the at-fault driver or drivers.

Source: albanyherald.com, "Law officers to intensify traffic enforcement during holidays", Jim West, Dec. 10, 2015

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