For folks in Wagener the early December collision of a school bus and a car loaded with children is a vivid reminder of how dangerous alcohol can be.
"If they could take pictures of those two babies and publish them in the damn paper, wouldn't anybody drink and drive again," said Cynthia Nance, who saw the mangled bodies of two of the children killed in the Dec. 6 collision.
All five of the car's occupants - a 41-year-old woman and four children - died in the collision with the nearly-empty school bus. Police say the driver's blood contained twice the legal limit of alcohol.
With alcohol flowing freely at holiday parties, law enforcement officials and others fear that such alcohol-related accidents will be all too common between now and the New Year.
"It's a very dangerous time of the year," said Sheryl Powell, Georgia executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). "There are a lot of people out there who don't normally drink during the rest of the year who are getting drunk and driving."
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 17,300 Americans died in alcohol-related automobile accidents last year, with the peak number of deaths happening during the stretch just before Christmas through New Year's Day.
The Georgia State Patrol is predicting almost 800 New Year's accidents statewide, with about half of them alcohol-related. Nine people will die and 318 people will be injured, patrol officials predict.
"We are always out in force to try to catch anyone who has been drinking, but we can't be everywhere. Our goal has been to educate the public about how dangerous drinking and driving is," said Pam Short, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
The message appears to be getting out, MADD and state officials say. Drunken-driving arrests and accidents have dropped during the past few years.
"But still there is a person killed every 32 minutes because of a drunk driver. That's still too many," Ms. Powell said.
Ms. Powell said there are several steps ordinary citizens can take to prevent some alcohol-related accidents:
Alcohol can kill even if you're not steering a ton of plastic, steel and rubber down Interstate 20. Dr. Robert Schade, chief of gastroenterology at the Medical College of Georgia, says medical science has identified several harmful, short-term and long-term effects of alcohol:
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