Valdosta Daily Times

August 29, 2013

22nd Annual ‘Hands Across The Border’ Campaign

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

LAKE PARK — Labor Day weekend marks the end of the summer and the last chance for summer parties. This weekend is also often associated with an increase in drunk and impaired driving.

To combat this increase, law enforcement across the southeast are joining together for the 22nd annual "Hands Across the Border" campaign. This campaign was kicked off on Sunday, August 25 and will continue through Friday, August 30.

Georgia law enforcement officers from across the state are working together with officers from Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida to conduct road checks throughout Labor Day weekend.

On Wednesday morning, officers from Florida and Georgia met at the I-75 Georgia and Florida Welcome Centers to follow-up their night of sobriety road checks. Sandy Richardson, Regional Program Manager, was one of the speakers at the Georgia Welcome Center. She addressed the officers that were present saying, "We all know why we are here, and it's basically to save lives. We couldn't do it without you. We couldn't do it without the law enforcement community working together."

She also said of the campaign: "9,878 people were killed nation wide in 2011 over Labor Day weekend. That's a fatality every 53 minutes as the result of an impaired driver. We are asking the public to do their part. Have a designated driver. Make sure you have some way to get home."  

Sheriff Chris Prine also spoke, "We have a great working relationship with Florida. In South Georgia, we don't see a Florida line. We just work together."

Georgia State Patrol Capt. Chris Wright spoke to the officers saying, "We accomplish our goal each year of saving lives and preventing serious injuries because of the partnerships we have established with each other."

This year's "Hands Across the Border" campaign runs concurrent with the national Labor Day impaired driving mobilization. Georgia's campaign is "Operation Zero Tolerance," meaning drivers should be prepared to "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."  

With law enforcement stepping up this weekend, drivers are reminded to practice safe driving. Do not drive impaired. The legal limit across the country is a blood alcohol level of .08. Drivers will not be able to claim ignorance of the law. According to a press release from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, "If you're over the limit, you'll be under arrest."