Local and state authorities are cautioning the public to take it easy on the eggnog and champagne this holiday season.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Lt. Jody Chapman said the agency is participating in the annual statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
The initiative, which began Dec. 16 and runs through Jan. 2, is aimed at keeping impaired drivers off the roads. Authorities are also watching for seatbelt use and speeding.
Chapman said that includes concentrated patrols countywide and sporadic safety checkpoints.
"We have extra deputies out these two weeks because school is out," Chapman said. "School resource officers are patrolling shopping centers and the greenway parking lots, but also doing some traffic enforcement."
Chapman noted that authorities tend to see a rise in impaired driving and incidents during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"So we pay real close attention," Chapman said. "We’re out every weekend anyway, but we do see an increase during that time."
However, in the past few years, impaired driving over the New Year’s holiday seems to have decreased.
He said that’s likely because of awareness campaigns aimed at discouraging those who ring in the New Year with alcohol from driving.
"People realize they need to have a designated driver or call a cab," Chapman said.
He noted that information about free taxi cab rides on New Year’s Eve can be found online at www.drivesobergeorgia.com.
In addition, Chapman said those doing their last-minute shopping Saturday should be cautious.
He advised locking vehicle doors, keeping valuables out of plain sight and watching for scam artists. He also recommended calling 911 to report anything suspicious.
In an effort to help ensure smooth travel for those planning to visit family and friends over the holiday weekend, the state Department of Transportation is suspending lane closures related to construction from 5 a.m. today until 5 a.m. Tuesday.
The department is also reminding motorists to use caution because heavy holiday traffic is expected statewide.
Officials also noted that crews may still be working during that time and heavy equipment could be close to highways.