Your morning jolt: Drunk-driving citations up by 37 percent

Drunk-driving citations by state troopers have jumped by well over a third in the last four years. But it may not be a matter of unemployed commuters trying to wash away their depression.

From Walter Jones and the Morris News Service:

Citations issued by the Georgia State Patrol for drunken driving have increased 37 percent in the four years since the start of the recession….

Tickets for drivers without insurance increased 29 percent in the same period. Seat-belt and child-restraint infractions are also higher. However, speeding tickets are down by 25 percent.

Drivers’ behavior might not explain all of it. The tight state budget might.

“We’ve asked troopers to conserve fuel where they can, and they have been good about doing so,” said Gordy Wright, a spokesman for the State Patrol.

Troopers are parking their cars and conducting more stationary roadblocks. The change trimmed the average car’s gas bill to $410 per month in the fiscal year that ended in June.

***
A continuing state budget crisis also means you may have to pay for that walk in the woods. From the Associated Press:

The state Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is considering charging admission for visitors to some popular natural areas….

A steering committee made up of people across the state interested in conservation and outdoor recreation, recommended the DNR offer individuals a three-day pass for $3 or a yearly pass for $19. Groups of up to 12 people could buy three-day passes for $10 or a yearly pass for $35.

The DNR board would have to vote on approving the fees.

***
Note to Nathan Deal: Bring galoshes and an extra sweater. The following paragraph from this morning’s weather report on ajc.com may provide a clue as to why Sonny Perdue held his inauguration ceremonies safely indoors, rather than on the state Capitol steps:

On Monday, forecasters are predicting a 50 percent of a rain-snow mix, with highs again around 40 degrees. Monday night, the chance of precipitation is 30 percent, with snow possible in the northern suburbs and a rain-snow mix to the south.

***
In Washington, families were the rule as new members of Congress took their oaths of office. And with kids being kids, some accidental damage resulted.

Lego lobbyist Jack Isakson (center, low) after successfully button-holing Vice President Joe Biden/C-SPAN

Lego lobbyist Jack Isakson (center, low) after successfully button-holing Vice President Joe Biden/C-SPAN

For instance, 6-year-old Jack Isakson, accompanying his grandfather, broke the U.S. Capitol’s cuteness meter. The family has agreed to pay for the wreckage.

The occasion was a re-enactment of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s recitation of his oath of office, administered by Vice President Joe Biden. Afterwards, young Jack sought a private audience with the vice president for some personal business:

Jack Isakson to Biden: Um, um, uh. Could you tell some of the construction workers to build a Lego shop here?

Biden: Oh, that’s a good idea, man.

Johnny Isakson; He’s in charge. He can do that.

Biden: I tell you what. We’ll work with Grandpa to see if we can get that done.

Jack Isakson: OK.

Biden: Seriously, that’s a great idea. I tell you, we need jobs, Jack. The kid’s thinking. He wants to build a Lego shop here. As a matter of fact, we’ll put that in the State of the Union.

The exchange was caught by C-SPAN. You can watch it at the 24-minute mark.

***
State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, said he’ll use this year’s 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War to make another attempt to push an apology for slavery through the Legislature.

But Williams expressed some frustration in this interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM):

Everybody is sorry about it until they go public. Privately, [they say,] “Oh, it was so bad – it was bad.” But publicly, they just can’t say, “I’m sorry.” I don’t understand this.

***
The following is covered somewhere in the Book of Revelation as a sign of the Apocalypse. From the New York Times:

Looking to further expand his growing media presence, Glenn Beck, the conservative talk-show host, has hired a one-time chief executive of the left-leaning Huffington Post to lead his new Web site, The Blaze.

Betsy Morgan, who ran The Huffington Post for two years, ending in 2009, will become president of The Blaze, a four-month-old site intended to curate news articles and opinion pieces of special interest to Mr. Beck’s conservative audience.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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12 comments Add your comment

Danny O

January 6th, 2011
9:33 am

Lego only has one ‘g’

Ben Blackstock

January 6th, 2011
9:43 am

You “Leggo my Eggo” and play with Legos.

jgalloway

January 6th, 2011
9:51 am

Whoops. Thanks for the spellcheck, guys.

Road Scholar

January 6th, 2011
10:06 am

Welcome back Jim! Hope your time off prepped you for the legislative session to come, although I’m not sure what you could have done to prepare you for the stupidity on much of the action in the Capitol!

As for the apology on slavery, present legislators were not responsible for it occuring nor for its demise. What effect would an apology have? None! Move on to today’s real business; transportation, economy, jobs, water,education.

Jon Lester

January 6th, 2011
10:47 am

OK, so the semi-tricentennial of the beginning of the Civil War is coming up and someone wants to officially apologize for slavery (even if Delaware, Kentucky and Maryland allowed it also, but I digress). That’s all well and good, but will anyone demand an apology for the conscription of poor boys to fight for a wealthy few, or is that too close to certain interests still relevant today?

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Fist full of dollars

January 6th, 2011
11:17 am

The Gov likes the outdoors. Well- except Wilder Outdoors.

OedipusTax

January 6th, 2011
11:29 am

There are no less than 100 arrests in Gwinnett County every day and no less than 110 in Dekalb County. Extrapolating these figures for the 18 county Atlanta Metropolitan area, there are probably around 400,000 arrests annually, with a high percentage either alcohol or drug related in some way. This knowledge is NOT news. Nobody seems to notice or care. The fact that our State Troopers might have more arrests is just the tip of the iceberg. Our justice system is creaking under the load, and getting a timely trial is becoming more unlikely, plus there’s no place to put habitual nonviolent criminals until they become violent. Our secular leadership doesn’t have a clue of how to turn around these trends. The AJC doesn’t have a clue of what a solution might be either, other than to desperately try to blame somebody . . . anybody, rather than look at the emptiness of their souls while headlining their clueless desire to publicize some angry rap star.

OedipusTax

January 6th, 2011
12:11 pm

Oh, silly me! I forgot! This is the AJC, and this blog doesn’t involve some UGA football recruit putting his jock strap on backwards, which would be a story that would have at least 300 replies by now. As if I expected readers here to care about anything else!

Jaws

January 6th, 2011
12:31 pm

Three off the cuff thoughts about today’s blog. 1) The ticket increase is more about revenue than public safety. 2) By expanding what’s considered a “walk in the woods” the state could tax us for walking through our yards, or any park. A revenue bonanza! 3) A little quid pro quo would make a slavery apology easier to swallow, for example apologize for bussing our kids to schools miles out of the way for years in the name of promoting “equality”.

RGB

January 6th, 2011
12:57 pm

OT, you are right as rain but neither the government nor traditional media is interested in solutions for today’s problems. And yes, a secular perspective is the only one they seem to have.

I, too, tire of the “angry rap star”-type stories prominent here but the editors must believe their readers care about such things and that they possess a desire for constant titillation.

Regarding Mr. Galloway’s observation in line 2: “But it may not be a matter of unemployed commuters trying to wash away their depression.”

First, unemployed folks don’t commute at least as the word is typically used.
Second, why would you jump to the conclusion that the unemployed are getting drunk and choosing to drive on public thoroughfares? This reminds me of Harry Reid’s comment about unemployed people beating their wives–absent evidence.

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want people to think of me and Harry Reid as equals.

the original and still the best John Galt

January 6th, 2011
7:35 pm

The law in this state today is that any alcohol at all in your blood may be used to prove that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. So, have a beer, one beer, get stopped in a roadblock, test positive on the breathalizer, and you are popped for DUI. No wonder DUI arrests are up.

Besides that let’s talk about the ever present speed traps that constantly result in citations for other violations besides speeding.