Amy Farris is a 27-year-old widow. She lost her husband, Keith, in a crash caused by a drunk driver 18 months ago; she and her then-2-year-old son Christopher escaped without serious injury. The man who killed her husband was released from prison yesterday.
"He gets to go home and spend the holidays with his family," Farris said. "But I¿ll never see my husband again."
Farris told her story Friday to a group of celebrity participants and media assembled for Atlanta Motor Speedway¿s first annual Holiday Sobriety Challenge, a controlled experiment that graphically illustrated the dangers of drinking and driving, even at levels well below the legal limit of .08-percent.
Platinum-certified rapper Da Brat, Congressman-elect Lynn Westmoreland, WSB-AM traffic guru Capt. Herb Emory, Star 94¿s Jonathan Hyla and Hot 107.9¿s DJ Nabs all served as celebrity participants for the first challenge.
Of the five participants, four failed at least one portion of the driving test, and all five failed at least one segment of the field sobriety test administered by GSP afterwards. All five participants were at less than .04, or half the legal limit. The participants each consumed a small amount of beer and wine (one to three glasses, depending on body weight and other factors) and then tested their driving abilities on a closed course accompanied by instructors from Xtreme Measures Teen Driving School.
"Being in the legislature for the past 12 years, we¿ve worked to get the legal limit lowered from .10 to .08," Westmoreland said. "But for those of us who haven¿t had a breathalyzer test before, it¿s hard to imagine just what that .08 feels like. After today, I can tell you that no one who¿s at .08 needs to be driving. I was obviously not at my best even though I was well below that."
At the conclusion of the event, participants were chauffeured home by designated drivers.
The event was co-sponsored by the Georgia Office of Highway Safety (GOHS), Georgia State Patrol (GSP), MADD Georgia, Team Georgia and Xtreme Measures Teen Driving School. Vehicles were provided by Bellamy-Strickland.