Warning: Columbus Police will increase patrol looking for DUI suspects

Warning: Columbus Police will increase patrol looking for DUI suspects

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Columbus Police Department says they are increasing the number of officers patrolling the streets, specifically looking for drunken holiday drivers.

Major J.D. Hawk held a press conference Monday afternoon and said as people begin to celebrate with drinks at holiday parties, they should make sure to have a designated driver.

He says he is giving Columbus residents fair warning to be safe on the roads. 

"We're giving this [press conference] warn the citizens that effective tomorrow [Tuesday] we're increasing the patrols at night because of the increase of holiday parties, and with some holiday parties, comes the drinking of alcohol," Hawk said. 

CPD says they worked 791 DUI cases from the beginning of the year until October, and 145 of those were traffic accidents. 

Hawk says they're doing this to decrease the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, there were almost 300 alcohol-related deaths in Georgia in 2011.

There is also a possibility of getting arrested for DUI even if you're blood alcohol content is less than the legal limit of .08. 

"The alcohol blood level is the same, but with a DUI, it is less safe [to drive]. You can be lower than the rate for an actual DUI, and still be charged, but for our officers, if they're out there and the person has been drinking, there will be other circumstances to lead them to believe the person is less safe whether they can't walk or they're obviously impaired," he said.

Drivinglaws.org says though a 12 pack of beer cost less than $20, a typical DUI costs about $10,000 by the time a person pays bail, fines, fees and insurance.

Bradford Health Services will provide a ride home this holiday season to prevent DUIs. Call (706) 649-3075, and Bradford Health Services will pay up to $29 of your ride from a restaurant or bar to your home address within the city limits of Columbus, GA. and Phenix City, AL. from 9 p.m. - 3 a.m. EST. The service runs from Dec. 15-31, and you must be at least 21 years old and provide proper identification.  

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