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Emphasis on safety this holiday weekend
Authorities active on Lanier, roads
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Forsyth County News

The July Fourth holiday weekend starts today for law enforcement, though they won’t taking any time off.

Local and state agencies will be out in force patrolling the roads and waterways, targeting drunk driving and accident prevention.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office will provide “high law enforcement visibility,” spokesman Doug Rainwater said.

According to Rainwater, deputies will put an “emphasis on speed enforcement, aggressive driving, seatbelt law compliance and child seat restraints.”

Traffic, canine and the community enforcement units will be concentrating on safety checkpoints and laser speed details, he said.

The office will also have bike patrols at county parks and shopping centers, as well as the marine patrol units on Lake Lanier.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety will continue its Operation Zero Tolerance campaign, focused on stopping drunk drivers and boaters.

Over the last two years, the state has averaged 88 alcohol-impaired crashes between July 3 and 5, according to a news release from the agency.

Crash data also indicates Georgia has had more traffic fatalities from this time last year, up from 499 to 520.

Director Harris Blackwood said in a statement that “while a 4 percent increase may not seem like a lot to some people, that’s an additional 21 people who won’t be able to celebrate our nation’s independence this year.”

Authorities want to “not only rid the roads of drunk drivers, but to try and keep our traffic fatalities as low as possible,” he said.

The campaign began June 21 and concludes Sunday.

Blackwood added that the enforcement of drunk driving includes boating under the influence.

In May, a state law went into effect that lowered the legal blood alcohol content limit to .08 for boat operators, the same as for a car.

The Department of Natural Resources reminds boaters to designate a driver, wear life jackets and review safety rules.

“We understand the urge to celebrate during the holidays. But do not let the excitement of being out on the water deter you from your responsibility to your passengers and others on the water,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver in a statement.

“Your knowledge of boating rules and regulations is critical to ensure that everyone comes home safely at the end of the day.”

Aside from the lowered BUI limit, a new state law requires children younger than 13 to wear a life jacket while on board a moving boat. Previously, the cutoff age was 10.