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Fourth of July drivers put on notice: Drink and drive and go to jail

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While you are deciding what events you want to participate in this Independence Day in Atlanta, you need to be aware that there will be a stepped-up campaign to catch motorists who are drinking and driving on Georgia roads this Fourth of July, according to a June 25 report from The Telegraph in Macon.

According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety in Georgia (GOHS), they are once again joining a national impaired driving enforcement effort to move drunk drivers in the state off the road and into a jail cell.

Statistically it is prudent, as GOHS Director Harris Blackwood says, "We are still experiencing one traffic fatality every five hours in Georgia" during this holiday time period.

Operation Zero Tolerance actually went into effect on June 20, but it will run through July 6. And the GOHS wants people to understand they will not receive a warning if stopped and found to be officially impaired due to alcohol. It will mean an arrest and a quick trip straight to jail. So don't drink and drive on Georgia roads this upcoming holiday for sure.

For those who don't drink and are concerned about traveling Georgia roads during the July 4 holiday period, the most risk for alcohol-related fatal crashes based upon 2012 data is from 6 p.m. on July 3 through 6 a.m. on July 6. So if you can travel before and after those time frames, it might be safer. Additionally, more fatal crashes due to alcohol occurred during the nighttime than during the daytime. So evening travel is the most dangerous during this holiday.

Nationally, the death toll resulting from fatal crashes in 2012 from July 3-5 were 179, with 44 percent of them (approximately 78) being attributed to alcohol use. That is almost half the traffic accidents occurring due to someone being under the influence and getting behind the wheel of a car.

A blood alcohol level chart provided online by DrivingLaws.org helps drinkers know in advance of the Fourth of July holiday just how many drinks (and what types) can put them at the dangerous .08 legal limit in at least 50 states. That way they can drink responsibly, choosing only the amount that will keep them legally sober.

For example, each of the following counts as one drink: a 12-ounce beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor. So you see that certain types of alcoholic drinks can impair you faster than others. And it only takes three of either of them to make a 100- to 120-pound person legally drunk in the eyes of the law. But a mere two drinks will impair a driver of this weight range. So know your legal limit before you celebrate with alcohol and attempt to drive.

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