Friday, May 1, 2009

“Amigos Don't Let Amigos Drive Drunk”

Pick A Designated Driver Before Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo has become a big night-out on the Georgia social scene, especially for young adults. Fiesta plans north of the Border have become another ‘six-pack-tradition’ here on the all-American party calendar, just like on St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.

This year the holiday falls on a Tuesday, so for some dedicated party-goers it means an entire weekend celebrating the consumption of adult beverages. And that can turn Cinco de Mayo into a high-risk holiday on our roadways for everyone, because of Georgians who drive drunk.

With those parties beginning Friday night, the Peachtree City Police Department is issuing this early warning to remind lawful motorists about a dangerous night-out because of alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers. To drunk drivers the message is simple: You drive impaired, you WILL go to jail. In Georgia it’s Operation Zero-Tolerance…. OVER THE LIMIT. UNDER ARREST!“

Let’s face it, about half the fatal crashes on our state’s roadways will be alcohol-related this Cinco de Mayo weekend,” says Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) Director Bob Dallas. “Impaired adults behaving badly have turned the Cinco de Mayo celebration into another deadly drinking and driving weekend… just like we’re seeing on St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.” Unfortunately the drinking and driving deaths associated with the Cinco de Mayo holiday have become a predictable risk factor of American party culture for the last decade.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, starting each year on May 5th and running overnight into the early morning hours of May 6th, 43-percent of all highway fatalities were caused by drunk drivers. And since 1999, the NHTSA data shows those impaired drivers had blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of 0.08 percent and above.

What do those numbers mean to you? In Georgia, on average, a dozen people will die as a result of alcohol-related crashes during the Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Across the country, nearly 40 times a day, someone in America will die in an alcohol-related crash. That’s one DUI victim every 39 minutes. And if you think you’re immune, think again. That data shows three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. That’s how hundreds of thousands are injured in alcohol-related highway crashes each year, many of them right here in Georgia.

So this Cinco de Mayo, the Peachtree City Police Department is issuing a plea to party responsibly. Real amigos should remember to designate a sober driver in advance – Before the Cinco de Mayo festivities begin. Whether meeting a few friends after work or hitting the holiday party circuit, ‘amigos don’t let amigos drive drunk’.

What should you do to protect your family on the highway this Cinco de Mayo weekend? Your best protection against a deadly encounter with one of these drunk drivers is… a buckled safety belt.

If you have a Cinco de Mayo party, make these safety tips part of your guide to being a great host!

Make sure your guests have Designated sober Drivers.
Never serve alcohol to guests under 21-years-of-age.
Serve plenty of food…. and include soft drinks, juice, and water.
Stop serving alcohol before the party ends. Start serving coffee and dessert instead.
Take car keys from anyone who even thinks about driving impaired.

In Georgia every year, one-of-every-three crash fatalities is alcohol-related…. and every one of those alcohol-related deaths could have been prevented.

If you attend a Cinco de Mayo party at your favorite restaurant or bar, plan an exit strategy before you leave for home:

Designate your sober driver before the party begins and give them your car keys.
Volunteer to be the Designated Driver or offer to be one next time out.
Before you party, program local cab company numbers in your cell phone so a safe ride is just a call away.
Pace yourself. Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks. Eat during the evening; load up on the chips and salsa and other appetizers, and then enjoy your other favorite Mexican foods during the evening;
Never let a friend out of sight if you think they’re about to drive impaired.

Remember, Georgia enforces DUI laws for those who drive drunk. “Be responsible about your own limits,” said Peachtree City Police Chief H. C. “Skip” Clark II. “Impaired driving is no accident – nor is it a victimless crime. GOHS supports Mothers Against Drunk Driving in their reminder that the perfect end to a perfect Cinco de Mayo celebration is a safe and sober ride home.”

The Georgia State Patrol reminds drivers in Georgia to report ALL impaired drivers with a free cell phone call to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post by calling: Star G-S-P (*477) on Interstates. If you observe an impaired driver in Peachtree City, Fayette County, simply call 911.

The Peachtree City Police Department has several programs in place in regards to traffic safety, such as educational programs at schools, road safety checkpoints, and saturation patrols. The City of Peachtree City has set up an on-line based system for traffic safety concerns, programs, and educational materials which can be accessed at For more information on impaired driving prevention see , or, or visit . Additional traffic concern questions or comments can be made by email at or by calling 770-487-8866 and requesting to speak to any member of the Community Response Team (C.R.T.).
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