If you are a defensive driver who never drives their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol you have nothing to fear from the ‘Nighthawks’.

The ‘Nighthawks’ are a new special operations unit of the Georgia State Patrol which will be focused almost exclusively on identifying those drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol and getting them off the road before the hurt themselves or someone else.

Harris Blackwood, the director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, told reporters this week that the Nighthawks program has been a successful program in Atlanta and Athens since October 2004. The newest group will be comprised of six members of the Georgia State Patrol and will hit the streets in Muscogee County immediately.

In counties where special DUI enforcement teams have hit the streets statistics show that the incidence of DUI arrests have declined by nearly 50 percent. This has emboldened police and caused them to focus efforts on specialized units tasked with just addressing the issue of driving under the influence.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, nearly 30 percent of all crashes which occur in the state have alcohol or drugs as their root cause. This makes addressing the issue of driving under the influence a critical one for police and authorities tasked with making the streets a safer place for everyone.

According to a recent report from the National Transportation Safety Board, distracted driving is now responsible for more traffic fatalities than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but that does not mean that DUI is any less dangerous than it has always been. In Georgia they are throwing down the gauntlet and focusing efforts on keeping these drunk and drugged drivers off the streets. This will no doubt result in more citations, more fines, more suspended licenses and more trips to traffic school (or jail) for some, but a whole lot safe place to drive for a lot of others.