Hefty fine: driving drunk on New Year's Eve

POSTED: 7:42 PM Dec 30 2012   UPDATED: 8:12 PM Dec 30 2012

With New Year's Eve one day away, police expect a spike in drunk driving accidents, arrests and unfortunately fatalities.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is urging drivers to think wisely. Drinking and driving is not only prohibited, but it comes with its share of consequences.

"Plan ahead," said DPS Public Information Officer Sparky Dean. "Get that designated driver or the P.A.S.S. system which TxDOT is pushing this year. Find that person who can drive who is completely sober and had nothing to drink."

Even if a driver thinks they're okay to drive after one or two drinks, they could be wrong. Dean said the first vital sign to weaken is judgement and not to chance it.

"We are looking for them," Dean said. "Those people that feel like they're on the fringes and their okay to drive...we have special patrols coming out."

Those patrols will start at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve until the early morning hours, but their goal isn't to spoil the holiday fun.

"We're not trying to bust anybody's bubble or ruin anybody's party, but if you end up in the hospital or worse everybody's holidays ruined," said Dean. "Let's see 2013 as a joyous, fun, brand new year, a good start. From the county jail, the hospital, to the morgue, that's a terrible way to start a new year."

Dean also said a common DWI arrest carries a minimum $17,000 fine.