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DUI citations tend to increase over holidays
Officials urge caution on roads
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However you celebrate the new year, use the roads cautiously, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office warned.

The number of impaired driving citations tend to increase, said spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks.

“Some of the holidays are known for a lot more parties. In the past, those numbers have been higher than normal,” he said.

Law enforcement will be on heightened watch for dangerous driving, he said.

“We’ll utilize a number of things, primarily saturated patrols and safety checkpoints,” Wilbanks said. “Those will move throughout the county over the course of the holiday period. Typically we concentrate on those in areas where we’ve had incidents in the past of fatalities or a high number of crashes.”

People driving under the blood-alcohol limit should be cautious as well, Wilbanks said.

“We recommend you drive defensively. If you suspect there might be more impaired drivers, give yourself extra room if you see someone driving erratically,” Wilbanks said.

And pick up the phone and report that driver as well, he said.

“Get a good vehicle description, tag number if possible, give dispatch a location if possible, but absolutely keep a safe distance,” he said.

Drunken driving in the county is not a problem limited to holidays, citations show.

Total DUI citations in Hall County by the sheriff’s office averaged about 32 per month.

And that figure was a rough estimate, Wilbanks said, because it didn’t include all types of record-keeping and arrest reports from all office divisions.

Hall County Probate Court saw more than 600 DUI citations in 2011.

A DUI conviction means a year of legal woes in the state of Georgia.

The message from law enforcement is simple: Celebrate safely.

“If you’re going to go out and celebrate, please utilize a designated driver,” Wilbanks said. “If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve had too much and don’t have one available, stay where you are. Don’t risk getting hurt.”