For those who cannot find a DD, the GOHS has created a free application for smart phones that help citizens to find free, sober rides home from holiday parties. The app, called "Drive Sober Georgia," allows for a search option based on where party-goers are and includes free taxis for any time of the year, not just the holiday season.
"I think it's a very good idea," Sgt. Kyle Tanner, post commander for the GSP Post 3 located in Cartersville, said. "Obviously, if you don't have a designated driver then probably the next best thing is to be able to get in touch with somebody that's willing to give you a free ride."
Though the idea means well, Tanner noted that people have to take advantage of the opportunity to really make the system effective.
"I hope this is a good thing someone can take advantage of and maybe save their own life or save someone else's life instead of getting out on the road drunk," Tanner said. "If people would just take advantage of it then hopefully it would be a good thing."
According to a GSP news release, in 2010 during the Christmas holiday period, 351 traffic crashes were investigated which resulted in 280 injuries and three fatalities. Troopers arrested 95 people for driving under the influence during the 78 hours of the holiday period. During the New Year's holiday period, troopers investigated 320 traffic crashes in Georgia that resulted in 270 injuries and seven traffic deaths. Total, 174 people were arrested for driving under the influence during the 2010 holiday patrol time frame.
"It kinda boils down to making a good decision and obviously the designated driver is the best decision or staying at home if you're going to party," Tanner said. "The next best would be to have someone drive for you.
"You've got some cab companies that say 'Hey, give us a call and we'll give you a free ride.' Some of the bars will actually say 'Before you leave we're going to call you somebody,' but a lot of people are stepping up to try to help with that but you still have folks that for whatever reason think they're good to drive even though they're really not."
The app includes a list of free rides through New Year's Eve as well as Super Bowl Sunday and the app is available for both Android and Apple iPhone users. Georgia is a Zero Tolerance state and Sober Ride Georgia is part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over program to keep drunk drivers off of the state's roads.
According to the GOHS, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is Georgia's high visibility enforcement program that targets impaired drivers through concentrated patrols and sobriety checkpoints." The program is part of the national campaign to eliminate drunk drivers.
"It's a sad situation when you have to contact family members or somebody has to basically grieve because someone didn't make a common-sense decision," Tanner said.
For more information on the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over program, or for more information on the application and to view a simulation of the app, visit gahighwaysafety.org.