Watch out for drunk drivers on New Year’s Eve, sheriff warns

In 2009, there were 10,839 people killed in the U.S. due to alcohol impaired driving. And with many people celebrating the New Year this weekend, Sheriff Greg Champagne is warning residents to be on the lookout.

“Busy roadways throughout the holidays always increase the risk of more drunken drivers,” Champagne said. “Yes, the holidays are about celebrating with family and friends, but it’s important that you celebrate safely.”

Champagne said it’s important to promote a designated driver program and to keep friends from driving drunk.

“You can help reduce holiday traffic accidents by having a plan before the New Year’s Eve party starts. It’s everyone’s responsibility to plan how they will get home safely.”

But just because you’re sober on New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Champagne said there are several warning signs to watch out for while driving on the roadways.

Be on the lookout for any driver traveling 10 miles per hour below the speed limit and also keep an eye out for drivers that suddenly stop for no reason or tailgate other vehicles.

Other drunk-driving signs include drivers that brake erratically, those that use their turn signals inconsistently, and those that drive without headlights or drift at a slight angle to the roadway.

Champagne said that if residents see any of these signs, they should call the police and report the driver.

“Take note of the driver’s exact location and be prepared to give an accurate description of the car including make, model, color, and most importantly, license plate number,” Champagne said.

He warns that residents should not follow a suspected drunk driver too closely and should not disregard any traffic signals in an attempt to keep the driver in sight.

“Do not compromise your own safety by getting overly involved with what the drunk driver is doing,” Champagne said. “If the driver stops, do not attempt to detain him or her.”


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