Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reminding everyone to drive sober this holiday weekend

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 3:43 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Safety and Coronavirus concerns are top of mind for local leaders just three days from July Fourth celebrations.

COVID-19 cases are down - but as the Delta variant grows its foothold in the U.S., vaccination efforts are doubling down. And when it comes to safety, it’s a more familiar warning - drive the speed limit and drive sober.

But this year - state and local law enforcement officers say you’ll only get this one reminder about drinking and driving.

Because unfortunately now, about halfway through the year, we’re already on track to one of the more deadly years here in Georgia in recent history.

“Unfortunately, it looks like this may be one of the deadliest years on Georgia roads in a while,” said Robert Hydrick with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

Around 850 people have died so far this year in traffic crashes in the Peach State, which is about a 21 percent increase from last year during the same time period. Law enforcement leaders attribute that spike to drunk driving, as well as speeding and reckless and distracted driving.

Partnering with police to get the message out about safe and sober driving is Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“I’ve been here now for six years working with MADD, and this year has been horrible. It just seems like every single day I’m getting a new name on my desk, and it’s tragic. Because like you said, it’s not just that one person. It’s their family, it’s their extended family, their friends, the first responders that have to go to that crash, their families,” said Theresa De Wild with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Like their counterparts on the road, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources will also be keeping a close eye on boaters this holiday weekend.

“Stay sober or designate a driver or operator. This really needs no explanation. A drunk driver becomes a drunk boater, and a drunk boater becomes a drunk driver,” said Colonel Thomas Barnard with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division

Barnard says 75 people died in boating or drowning accidents on Georgia’s waterways last year. He added we’re already at 40 deaths this year.

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