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Officials watch for weekend worries
Encourage safe, gun-free revelry
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Forsyth County News


Public safety officials are encouraging holiday revelers to include safety along with the fun in their plans this weekend.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Frank Huggins said deputies will concentrate on watching for impaired drivers.

“We’ll be running safety checks throughout the county at unannounced locations through the New Year’s holiday weekend,” Huggins said. “If you drink and drive, you’re going to go to jail.

“We’re not going to tolerate people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

The New Year’s holiday travel period began at 6 p.m. Thursday and runs to midnight Sunday.

Unlike last weekend, which included a rare white Christmas, the weather should be less of a factor.

According to the National Weather Service forecast, the daytime temperatures may top 60 degrees. There’s a chance of rain each day, but no frigid conditions.

Cumming Police Detective John Coffman said the department will also be out in force.

“We hope that everybody has a very merry but safe New Year’s Eve,” Coffman said. “We have numerous taxi cab companies that operate inside the city, and if that’s not an option, then set yourself up with a designated driver.”

Georgia’s statewide Operation Zero Tolerance holiday enforcement campaign began Dec. 17 and ends Sunday.

Bob Dallas, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said the crackdown is designed to ensure people survive the holidays.

“These high visibility enforcement campaigns play a critical role in reducing impaired driving crashes and DUI deaths in Georgia,” he said.

While it isn’t a common occurrence in Forsyth County, both Coffman and Huggins said authorities are also discouraging celebratory gunfire to ring in 2011.

“When you fire a firearm into the air, the bullet has to come down,” Huggins said. “A person could face felony charges if a bullet fired into the air struck someone.”

For those planning on celebrating with fireworks, Forsyth County Fire Capt. Jason Shivers urged caution. He noted that the only fireworks that are legal in Georgia without a special permit are those that are ground-based.

“We urge everyone to attend a professional fireworks show for New Year’s Eve, there are various ones to choose from throughout the north metro Atlanta area, versus putting on your own show at home,” Shivers said.

“Fireworks are dangerous. Even the ground-based systems that are sold in Georgia can pose extreme hazards, especially to children.”

He said those who choose to use fireworks at home should ensure there is adult supervision and a water source nearby.