This Labor Day weekend, Georgia motorists who are heading out of state to celebrate the holiday should expect to see more law enforcement patrols than usual, especially on the expressways and roadways near our state lines.
It's time for Georgia's Hands Across the Border intra-state impaired driving crackdown. It's our annual highway safety tradition where traffic enforcement officers from every neighboring Southeastern state make a solemn contract with the motoring public to help keep our roads safe from drunken drivers.
Thousands of peace officers gather at state line welcome centers to seal their highway safety pledge with a traditional handshake and a promise that "over the limit, under arrest" means there's no escape clause in this contract for drunken drivers.
From Aug. 29 through Sept. 2, drivers will see flashing red and blue lights close out the summer season as Hands Across the Border once again covers each corner of the state. It is a reminder to all motorists entering and leaving Georgia that they won't get away with drunken driving - this Labor Day or any other day of the year.
For five days leading up to Labor Day weekend, police, sheriff's deputies and state troopers throughout Georgia will rendezvous for news media interviews and photo-ops with handshakes and helicopters to promote highway safety education. But it's not just about local TV, radio and newspaper coverage. When Georgia's peace officers rejoin their mobilization partners, drunken drivers will have nowhere to run because police will be waiting at every state line.
This life-saving mission has served for nearly two decades as a warning to high-risk drivers that law enforcement in Georgia and our neighboring states will continue to crackdown on DUI. So motorists had better not hit the bottle before they hit the road, because if they choose to visit Georgia their vacation plans will also include a visit to jail if they choose to drive drunk.
For 19 years the campaign has created an outstanding opportunity for peace officers from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North and South Carolina to renew their commitment to cooperate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to reduce crashes, fatalities and serious injuries on our highways. After the speeches and media coverage at the annual handshake ceremonies, officers convoy in blue-light motorcades to the adjoining states' visitor centers to repeat their lifesaving pledge. Hands Across The Border marks nearly two decades of making the entire Southeast safer from drunken drivers.
Once again, this year's Hands Across The Border campaign runs concurrent with the nationwide Labor Day impaired driving mobilization. In Georgia, it's Operation Zero Tolerance, which means if you're over the limit, you'll be under arrest. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety is also coordinating the "100 Days Of Summer HEAT" initiative this Labor Day to raise awareness about the deadly consequences of speed, aggressive driving and failure to use safety belts and child restraints.
For more information about Operation Zero Tolerance, Hands Across The Border, and the 100 Days Of Summer HEAT, visit the GOHS Web site at www.gahighwaysafety.org.
(Bob Dallas is director of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.