Christmas has passed, but New Year's is just around the corner. As the holiday season continues, experts are preparing to protect the highways from DUIs.
"DUIs become a big problem for our nation, and the Chattahoochee Valley," says Al Barber from Barber's Driving School in Columbus. "The mixture of alcohol, stress and sleep deprivation, as well as texting and loud music, can cause numerous car accidents during the holiday season."
Barber said more DUI's occur on Thanksgiving than any other holidays.
"I think it's because Thanksgiving is the first holiday leading into a series of holidays," Barber says. "However, there will be steady DUI charges made throughout the entire year. There just tends to be a spike of DUIs during holiday seasons."
Barber explains that drivers must follow speed limits, wear seat belts and drive with no distractions.
"It's hard nowadays for many people to drive without distractions," Barber said. "However, it can be done."
Barber explains adults over the age of 21 qualify for a DUI when their blood alcohol content level reaches 0.08.
"But there is a part of the law called 'driving less than safe' that could still get you in trouble," Barber says. "Even if you are under the legal limit, if you were to get into any car accidents on the road or the parking lot, the officer can say the collision was caused primarily because of the alcohol consumption."
Barber advises that people should refrain from drinking any alcohol if they plan to drive within the next few hours.
"Depending on how much you drink, you can still get pulled over the next morning for DUI," Barber said. "If you drank heavily, and slept three to four hours, then you are still not sober enough to drive."
Barber also explains that the most expensive thing you can do on the road is getting a DUI. "The average cost in Georgia is somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 dollars for the first offense DUI."
However, Barber also explains that the overall DUI death toll has decreased in the past decade due to better education, safer cars and increased patrol.
"Slow down, and drive further away from the car in front of you," Barber advised. "If you can do that, you can be safe. Be a safe driver."