Deputies crack down on steadily increasing DUIs

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January 7, 2006

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Only one week into the new year, there have already been nearly 30 arrests for DUI in Richmond County alone.

Over two thousand were arrested in 2006. That's more than a ten percent increase from 2005...and officers predict this year's numbers will be even higher.

11 arrests were made just last night alone.

"We've got thirty arrests in about seven days of working this year, including two during the day on January First, both involving wrecks," said Deputy Landon Terry of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Nearly one third of all traffic deaths in Georgia are alcohol related, and Richmond County ranks high on the list. That's why the Richmond County DUI Task Force is going after every violator they can find.

"It's completely avoidable. Completely avoidable," Sgt. Pete Lamb said. "It's simply a choice people make."

More and more people are being caught making the decision to drink and drive. In 2006, more than two thousand drunk drivers were arrested, an increase of more than ten percent from 2005.

"It's 24 hours a day," Deputy Terry said. "I've known people to drink at six am in the morning, twelve noon, mid afternoon, late evening, there's not set time a person will drink and drive."

Most are caught in just two areas of town.

"I call them hot spots--Washington Road area and the Broad Street downtown area--because you got such a large concentration of bars," Deputy Terry said.

Officers say if you choose to drink and get behind the wheel in Richmond County this year, expect to see blue lights in your rearview mirror.

"If you are going to drink, don't drive, because you'll be caught by us, and it's not a pleasant experience to spend the night in the Richmond County jail," Deputy Terry said.

While the number of arrests is increasing here in Augusta, we are still averaging the same amount of arrests as other cities our size across the state.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the most dangerous time to be on the road is between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. From 9 until midnight, 64 percent of all accidents involve alcohol, and from midnight until 3 a.m., 77 percent are alcohol related.