(ATLANTA) – The Georgia State Patrol will kick off stepped up patrols for impaired drivers this weekend as National Lifesaver Weekend begins the Christmas and New Year’s holiday enforcement period.  National Lifesaver Weekend is sponsored by Operation C.A.R.E., or Combined Accident Reduction Effort, a nationwide state law enforcement program to reduce the number of traffic deaths on our nation’s highways.
      Colonel Bill Hitchens, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said Georgia State Troopers and officers with the DPS Motor Carrier Compliance and Capitol Police Divisions will be participating in the enforcement efforts through regular patrols, concentrated patrols, and road checks.  Colonel Hitchens added that troopers and officers will kick-off the enforcement period with National Lights on for Life Day on Friday, December 19.  Troopers and DPS officers will patrol with their headlights on this Friday to call attention to the dangers impaired drivers pose on our nation’s highways.  “Friday is National ‘Lights on for Life Day’ to increase awareness of the dangers posed by people who drink and drive,” Colonel Hitchens said.
      State highway patrol and state police agencies across the country as well as Canada will be participating in National Lifesaver Weekend and National Lights On for Life Day with enforcement efforts and educational outreach projects.  Operation C.A.R.E. is now in its 31st year and is a program of state law enforcement agencies to promote traffic safety.  
      Colonel Hitchens urges everyone to promptly report suspected impaired drivers you see on the roadways by calling Star G-S-P (*477) on your cell phone.  You will be connected to the nearest Georgia State Patrol post.  He reminds everyone to help law enforcement keep the roads safe this holiday season by reporting impaired drivers.  “If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely,” he said.
      The Christmas holiday travel period begins Wednesday, December 24 at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight Sunday, December 28.  The New Year’s holiday travel period begins Wednesday, December 31 at 6 p.m. and ends at midnight January 4, 2009.  Both holiday periods are 102 hours long.