Police: "Use designated drivers" on New Year's Eve - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Police: "Use designated drivers" on New Year's Eve

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -  New Year's Eve is nearly here, and law enforcement officers prepare to step up their protection on the road.  New Year's Eve is a night of celebration,  but too much celebration can be a recipe for a run-in with the law.

"All of the officers will be looking for the signs of impaired driving, so we encourage everybody to use designated drivers," Chad Sheehan, Crime Prevention Officer said.

Officer Chad Sheehan says he understands not everyone will be celebrating in excess, but it's important to remember that you don't have to overindulge to be a danger behind the wheel.

"If you're feeling any effects of the alcohol, you shouldn't be driving. Whether you're over the .08 or not," Sheehan said.

Officer Sheehan described the effects of alcohol as we've all heard them: slowing your reaction time, lowering your inhibitions. But, he says a lot of people don't realize that those skills you drink away are the very skills you need to drive safely.

"When you're driving, that's a very potentially deadly combination. Slowed reaction time, taking greater risks maybe at intersections than you normally would, driving either too fast or too slow for conditions, all those things are a recipe for disaster," Sheehan said.

Just because you can't drive a car, though, doesn't mean you should try to get home on foot, either. You may not understand how cold it is when making the choice to walk home while intoxicated, and that could have a lifelong effect.

"If they would fall and get injured and get knocked unconscious or something like that, these cold temperature conditions, it would not take long for somebody to have some irreversible damage," Sheehan said.

But physical damage is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the lasting effect one foolish decision can have on a night like New Years Eve.

"If you do get involved in an accident and you injure yourself or someone else, you may physically survive an incident like that, but emotionally or mentally, how will you be prepared if you cause the death of someone else or the serious injury of somebody else," Sheehan said.

Officer Sheehan said that sometimes it's hard to find a ride home, but in the long run, you'll never regret waiting those extra minutes so you and your loved ones arrive home safely.

In addition to the emotional impact of drunk driving, there are some big bills to pay when you're pulled over.

A drunk driving ticket, for a first offender, can cost you up to six thousand dollars after court and insurance fees are paid.

It can also raise your car insurance rates from twenty to fifty percent, according to local insurance agents.

To avoid those costs, a Sioux City attorney has paid for free rides for all those in a 15-mile radius of Sioux City's downtown.

Ed Keane has paid for a "Safe Ride" for Sioux City celebrants through tomorrow evening. 

Call Siouxland Taxi and ask specifically for a "Safe Ride" or for "Ed Keane's Safe Ride," and they'll deliver you to your doorstep free of charge tomorrow night.

Party goers at Rhonda's Speak Easy will also have an option for a free, sober ride home.
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