New Year’s Eve brings with it a good deal of socializing. And the Missouri State Highway Patrol says far too many people who socialize on New Year’s Eve end up drinking and driving.
“Certainly there are a lot of people going out and celebrating and alcohol is a part of a lot of those celebrations,” said Highway Patrol Lieutenant John Hotz in an interview with the Missourinet. “We do encourage people, if they are going to have alcohol in their plans to celebrate, that they make their decision before they start going out to their parties about how they’re going to get home or where they’re going to stay that night.”
Hotz says partying with a designated driver is a popular option – and that person might get his or her non-alcoholic beverages for free.
“There are establishments that do have programs set up for that person who is going to be the designated driver,” said Hotz. “Of course, when you talk about a designated that’s somebody that’s not going to drink any alcohol, that’s going to be responsible to get everybody else home safely that day.”
To ensure the roads are as safe as possible the Highway Patrol will be out in force.
“We’ll have saturation or sobriety checkpoints, depending on where the location is,” said Hotz. “We try to focus on those areas where we see a lot of problems of either alcohol-related traffic crashes or a high number of alcohol-related arrests.”
There were 24 deaths and 441 injuries in 1,183 traffic crashes on Missouri roads during last year’s New Year’s holiday counting period. That counting period was longer than this year’s as New Year’s Day was on a Thursday and the period began at 6 pm on Wednesday and ran through 11:59 Sunday night. This year’s period begins at 6 pm on Thursday and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday.
Report by Steve Walsh