Tribune-Courier News Reporter
New Year’s Eve is typically one of the busiest times for law enforcement agencies across the country, but Sheriff Kevin Byars is hopeful that this News Year’s Eve will be different as the holiday falls in the middle of the standard work week.
“New Year’s Eve is on a Tuesday this year and when it falls during the week the amount of accidents usually goes down,” he said.
Although Byars is hopeful that trend will hold true, he said there will still be plenty of law enforcement personnel throughout the county that will be conducting safety checks and patrolling more heavily.
“We’ll have plenty of guys out – I’ll probably even be out myself,” he said. “We’ll have at least six out, but that doesn’t include the other patrolling agencies in this county.”
Byars said the sheriff’s department handles anywhere from 100 to 200 DUIs annually.
“It doesn’t really seem like there are more accidents during that time,” he said. “I think it might be that there’s just more attention put on drunk driving during the holidays.”
Byars said the sheriff’s office has been working with the Department of Highway Safety on its annual initiative to target drunk driving during the holiday season, an initiative that started Dec. 15 and ends Jan. 1.
The legal limit to be considered intoxicated in Kentucky is .08 percent blood alcohol content
That percent could be reached by the consumption of one alcoholic beverage depending upon a person’s body weight or the amount of food consumed prior to drinking.
“In years past – in 2010 or 2011 – we had several fatality accidents on Hwy 68 that involved either alcohol or drugs and that was one of the reasons we started these kinds of initiatives,” he said. “We want to eliminate those kinds of accidents.”
Byars said the best way to eliminate accidents caused by drunk driving is for people to not drive while intoxicated, but in order to help eliminate accidents commuters should consider travel only during daytime hours when visibility is much better.
“I would highly recommend that people drive during the day time,” he said. “I know a lot of people will leave late at night at midnight or 1’o’clock, because they think traffic wont be heavy,”
“That might be the case in some areas, but not always – it’s not just your own driving you need to pay attention to. You have to pay attention to other drivers as well, because they might be intoxicated or not paying attention to what they’re doing and that might cause you to have an accident.”
Byars encouraged drivers to think carefully before drinking so that they will be able to get home safely.
He suggested designated drivers, which is the safest way for a person that’s intoxicated to get home.
He said, “We want people to enjoy themselves, but we want them to get home safe – designated drivers are an easy way to make that happen.”
A transporter taxi, which serves Marshall County, is also available for New Year’s Eve rides by phoning 270-252-6370.