AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Days before the Fourth of July weekend, and law enforcement has one message — do not drink and drive. Georgia’s Governor’s Office of Highway Safety toured the state Wednesday reminding residents that Georgia State Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources will be out in full force patrolling highways and waterways.
“We’ll increase that presence so we can slow people down, have people to buckle their seatbelts and put their cellphones down,” Col. Chris Wright with the Department of Public Safety explains. “We’re going to be seriously focusing on DUI enforcement.”
More than 850 people have been killed on Georgia roads in 2021 — a 20 percent increase compared to the same time period in 2020. 433 DUIs have been reported in Richmond County this year, while 254 have been reported in Columbia County.
“We want everyone to have a good time, but we don’t want it to end in tragedy,” Robert Hydrick with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety says.
Out on lakes, DNR is not taking any chances either. Officers will be patrolling, keeping an eye out for impaired and distracted drivers.
“There will be an increased presence of our officers on the water from the mountains to the coast,” Col Thomas Barnard says.
40 people have died Georgia waterways this year. DNR hopes that number does not rise.
“Our top priority is detecting impaired drivers to keep everyone else safe,’ Barnard says.