Sheriff’s Office offers free ride service for holiday party-goers

The holiday season brings lots of joy, loads of fun and entertaining festivities for all. Unfortunately, in a flash it can turn into a time of tragedy as well, and all it may take is a single poor decision.

While those who drink and drive while attending parties during the holidays may meet the flashing lights of a police car and the consequences of a DWI arrest, that doesn’t represent the worst potential outcome. The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office is well aware of that, and in the philosophy of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure,” it is once again offering parish residents free rides home this holiday season.

If one attends a party in St. Charles Parish and have had alcohol, he or she may call (985) 783-6807 and a deputy will arrive to provide a ride home at no charge. It is an offer that stands now until New Year’s Day.

St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said he hopes citizens will take advantage of the service, because the risk of driving drunk is simply never worth it.

“Citizens must recognize that they need a ride before they get behind the wheel,” said Champagne. “We offer a free ride home to help keep citizens from driving intoxicated and make our streets safer.”

The offer does not stand, however, if someone has already hit the road and been pulled over by police or is involved in an accident — it is not a literal “Get out of jail free” card to play.

That circumstance would still involve a ride, but not one anyone wants to take part in.

“If you do not call us for a ride and get behind the wheel while impaired, you can expect a ride to jail,” Champagne said.

The service gives people one less reason to put themselves in line for that, or worse. The message from the Sheriff’s Office is clear: take the free ride home, or a costly one to jail.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the period between Christmas and New Year’s is the worst for drunk driving fatalities. The situation has worsened in recent years, with a 9% increase in drunk driving deaths in 2020. In 2021, overall traffic deaths were the highest recorded since 2006, indicating more dangerous roadways overall. Yet, despite Americans feeling vulnerable to drunk drivers, 48% admit that they drink more alcohol at family holiday parties than at any other time of year.

It’s been estimated that alcohol-related accidents are responsible for 25,000 injuries between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And New Year’s Day alone shows 2.4 times the amount of deaths related to drunk driving.

 

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