U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off the
annual "Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest" winter holiday
crackdown involving thousands of law enforcement agencies across the nation. Secretary LaHood also highlighted the new "No Refusal" strategy that a number of states are employing to put a stop to drunk driving.
Through the "No Refusal" strategy, law enforcement officers are able to quickly obtain warrants from "on call" judges in order to take blood
samples from suspected drunk drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test.
"Drunk driving remains a leading cause of death and injury on our
roadways," said Secretary LaHood. "I applaud the efforts of the law
enforcement officials who have pioneered the 'No Refusal' approach to get drunk drivers off our roads. And I urge other states to adopt this
approach to make sure that drunk drivers can't skirt the law and are
According to DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), in 2005 there was a 22 percent breath test refusal rate among drivers in Georgia. The latest NHTSA data shows that states that have adopted "No Refusal" programs report more guilty pleas, fewer trials and more convictions.
"When it comes to drunk driving, we cannot afford to have repeat
offenders," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "The 'No Refusal' strategy helps support prosecutions and improves deterrence, which means fewer drunk drivers on the road. I want to remind everyone this holiday season: if you're over the limit, you're under arrest. So please, for safety's sake, find a designated driver or take a taxi if you are under the influence."
It is illegal in the state of Georgia to drive with a Blood Alcohol
Concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher, yet 331 of the 1,284 traffic
fatalities in 2009 were due to alcohol-impaired driving.
The holiday enforcement crackdown is supported by $7 million in national TV and radio advertising and runs from December 15 through January 3.