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Road safety office aims to prevent drunken driving with new app
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Want a sober ride home after New Year's revelry? Well, there's an app for that.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety announced Monday the creation of a smartphone application that will help Georgians everywhere connect with services that offer free rides on New Year's Eve.

The application, called "Drive Sober Georgia," is available for free download on iPhone and Android phones.

Harris Blackwood, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, said the new application leaves Georgians without an excuse to drive while under the influence of alcohol during the holiday.

The office is using the travel period around the New Year's holiday to increase awareness about the consequences of impaired driving.

The annual campaign against drunken driving increases the visibility of law enforcement officers throughout the state and includes sobriety checkpoints, according to a news release from the office.

The state's highway safety website lists contact information for 15 agencies offering free sober rides throughout the state.

Few of the agencies listed offer rides outside of Atlanta. While there are free ride services in Athens, Columbus, Savannah and Macon, only AAA Tow to Go offers the service statewide.

The new Drive Sober Georgia application will connect revelers with smartphones to those agencies easily, according to the office of highway safety.

"We know that people are attached to their cellphones these days," Blackwood said in a statement. "So we made it as easy as possible by putting a free sober ride in the palm of your hands."

The application comes on the heels of an announcement by federal and state authorities that Georgia highway fatalities dropped substantially last year for the fifth year in a row.

Statistics finalized and published this month show a total of 1,244 people died on Georgia highways in 2010.

That's a decline of 3.7 percent, or 48 deaths, from the 2009 total of 1,292. It continues a trend in decreased highway deaths that began in 2006.

Traffic fatalities reached a record 1,744 in 2005.

The Georgia Department of Transportation says that as of Dec. 19 fatalities were on track this year to decrease from 2010 with 62 fewer than that date a year ago.

The new application, according to the office of highway safety, is another effort to "ensure those statistics continue to fall."

Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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