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Driving under the influence, New Years Eve, advice from first responders

Driving under the influence, New Years Eve, advice from first responders
Posted at 6:29 PM, Dec 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-31 00:27:35-05

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — 2018 will soon end as we are a day away from ringing in the new year. If you're making plans to celebrate, keep in mind law enforcement usually see a rise in drunk driving. The advice from law enforcement is very clear. Have all the fun in the world, but be smart and be safe.

"Don't start the night by driving, if you know you're going to be drinking a little bit," said Sgt. Dawn Barkman with the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Many celebrations will light up the town for a wishful start to 2019. But how the celebrations end can possibly set up the new year with grief.

"As a first responder, when we pull up to these scenes, one of the things that not everybody notices is the disruption to the parties involved. Whether you're a victim or you happen to be the driver, the impact that its going to have on your life from that moment forward is something that people don't see or realize, but its something that we realize all the time," said Brian Barrett, an engineer with the Tucson Fire Department.

New years festivities bring more people out and many will be out later into the night. As long as you are celebrating smart and safe, those first on the scene say you're setting yourself up for success.

"We're not looking to ruin anybody's weekend, anybody's celebration. We want you to go out there and have fun, but more importantly, have a plan," said Francisco Mogas, an officer with the Tucson Police Department.

A plan that includes where you're going, how you are going to get there, and how you are going to safely make it back home. Law enforcement urges you make these plans even before stepping out the door.

"Nobody wants to make the decision spur of the moment or when they're impaired. If you're involved in a DUI case, you're going to spend tens of thousands defending yourselves. The alternative is really $20 or $30 to get a cab or a Lyft or an Uber that night," said Barrett.

Consequences for a DUI depends on your level of intoxication, and your driving and criminal record. If you injure or kill someone, you are looking at manslaughter and homicide charges.

"So in today's day and age with the ride sharing apps, taxi services, and even some local businesses that even offer free ride during this New Year's celebration, there really is no excuse for a DUI. It is absolutely 100% avoidable," said Mogas.

100-percent avoidable and a safer start into the new year.

"Don't take the chance. There's no reason to take the chance. There are so many way that you can get around and drink and have a good time without driving a car and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle impaired. So may ways," said Barkman.

Lyft is offering discounted rides with the codes "Pima safe" and "Pima safe 18." Sun Link Street Car is extending the hours of service until 2 A.M. On Monday in downtown, Fourth Ave, the Mercado, and Maingate Square. AAA is hosting a safe ride program again this year. Call 855-2-T-O-W-2-G-O, to get a ride from a public place to your home from AAA.