Drunk Driving Down in Peach State

Alcohol related traffic deaths increased in 19 states over the last five years, and the Peach State wasn't one of them. Now, Georgia is being recognized for its continued efforts to curb drunken driving.

As an owner of a local clothing store, Charlotte Hungate comes in contact with a lot of people, but a few who'll never stop by again. She knew some folks who fell victim to an alcohol related traffic crash.

"This couple had a very bad accident on the highway hit a tree they, they had done a lot of partying. It's very tragic because we never saw them again," said Charlotte Hungate.

State officials are working to help keep this from happening. A national report shows alcohol related traffic deaths decreased by more than nine percent in between 1998 and 2002.

"The DUI enforcement program is something we do everyday, day in and day out. We look for the impaired driver the wreckless driver, the speeding driver, anything to make the highways safer," said Jaime Sullivan.

"Concentrated patrols" is what law enforcement officers call their year round effort, which accounts for the 68 percent decrease in traffic fatalities over the past 20 years statewide.

"I think most people are very aware of what the state of Georgia can and will do for you. I'm delighted that all this progress is being made," said Hungate.

Hungate says she thinks people are realizing the consequences of drunk driving and the possibility of taking the life of someone else. This is National Holiday Lifesaver Weekend. Georgia troopers say they will be in full strength looking for impaired drivers.

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Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

  • Legal drinking age in the United States is 21.

  • Forty-six states have "Zero Tolerance Laws" for underage drinking and driving, meaning that drivers under 21 years of age are considered to be legally intoxicated with a much lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that drivers who are 21 or older.

  • BAC varies from 0.00 to 0.02 depending on the state.

  • For drivers 21 and over, the BAC is 0.08.

  • If charged with a DUI, the offender can have his or her license suspended for 90 days to one year, and pay fines of up to $1,000.

  • Fines and jail time can increase significantly if you injure someone or cause major damage.

  • Second and subsequent offenses may be dramatically more severe.

  • Affect on Insurance: If your license is suspended, your insurance company (preferred carrier) will drop you and your entire family.

  • If you get your license back, you will pay 40-60 percent higher rates.

    Source: www.whatsdrivingyou.org contributed to this report