Over 28 percent of fatal accidents in Georgia in 2008 were alcohol-related according to the National Highway Safety Administration. In 2009, 7,281 people died in accidents where at least one driver had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. This represented a decrease of over 4,000 deaths from impaired driving in just one year.
In a continuing effort to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities caused by impaired and distracted drivers, government agencies have increased awareness programs instead of passing laws or increasing penalties that target drunk and drugged driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website includes information about how drunk driving may be prevented.
The CDC website includes the following recommendations on how to prevent fatalities and injuries caused by impaired (drunk or drugged) driving:
- Actively enforce existing laws;
- Promptly revoke licenses from DUI offenders;
- Use sobriety checkpoints;
- Promote health efforts that influence all aspects of the community;
- Mandate substance abuse assessments and treatments for offenders;
- Reduce the illegal BAC threshold to 0.05%;
- Raise state and federal alcohol excise taxes; and
- Require blood alcohol testing after traffic crashes that result in injury.
Efforts to heighten awareness about Georgia's DUI accidents have also increased. The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's DUI Memorial Fund offers a program where DUI accident victims' next of kin may request that the Department of Transportation erect a memorial crash site sign. These signs are produced and erected at no cost if an application to the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program is deemed eligible.
Some law enforcement officers are now being trained to conduct additional tests to determine if an impaired driver may be under the influence of drugs. The Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (A.R.I.D.E.) tests are broken down into seven categories: Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants, CNS Stimulants, Hallucinogens, Dissociative Anesthetics, Narcotic Analgesics, Inhalants, and Cannabis. Tests include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Vertical Gaze Nystagmus (VGN), Walk-and-Turn and One Leg Stand. Law enforcement officers also check for inordinate pupil sizes and lack of balance.