Law enforcement on the lookout for drunk drivers

DUI numbers in for 2012

ABILENE, Texas - New Year's Eve is one of the most dangerous nights for drivers due to the number of drunk drivers out on the road. That is why local law enforcement will be out in full force Monday night.   

"A lot of people will be going to parties and that's great. You should see the New Year end. But not with alcohol if you're going to drive," Trooper Sparky Dean with the Texas Department of Public Safety said.  

Abilene Police Officer George Spindler said the department made 374 arrests this year compared to 404 arrests in 2011. Three of those arrests were on New Year's Eve.

While he is happy about the decrease, Spindler said even one DWI is one too many. That is why he recommends people find a designated driver or call a cab if they are over the legal limit.  

"We can do better, we have choices to make and it starts today," Spindler said.

Dean said DPS will not have its 2012 DWI numbers until Spring 2013, but he knows they have seen an increase in DWIs in the Abilene region.

He said a DWI is something a driver definitely cannot afford.

"Plain Jane DWI is about $17,000," Dean said. "That's just to have a lawyer and all the other fees associated with it. Why risk it? Have somebody else drive you home that has had nothing to drink. Because it could be an ambulance that takes you home, it could be a hearse that picks you up or a police officer."

If a designated driver is arrested for DWI, or even another offense, and the passenger is not able to drive, the passenger can be charged with public intoxication.

AAA is offering free towing services to members and non-members Monday night. The company has teamed up with local towing companies to provide the service.

People who are drunk and want to get their car towed instead of finding a cab can call 1-800-AAA-HELP (222-4357) to be connected to a local tow company. The towing company will then tow them within a three mile radius.

"It'll save a lot of lives if you use it, people go out and they celebrate new years and everything, have a little too much to drink and they get behind the wheel and normally when that happens, bad things happen." Ted Hooper, O'Bar Wrecker Service foreman, said.

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