Officers On High Alert for New Year's
Harris County leads the nation in DWI fatalities, but Sheriff Adrian Garcia and his department are looking to do something about it. Sheriff's deputies along with officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety are teaming up for a crackdown on drunk driving across Harris County this New Year's weekend. "New Year's Eve is when we see the largest number of drunk driving fatalities, unfortunately," says Christina Garza with the Harris County Sheriff's Office. (HCSO) "So it's a very busy weekend for law enforcement." HCSO traffic patrols are specifically watching high-risk locations during times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent. "Deputies will be out in full force looking for people who are driving drunk, or driving while under the influence of drugs," says Garza.
The extra enforcement serves a dual purpose: keeping the roads safe and sending a powerful message about drunken driving. "It's a danger to yourself, it's a danger to other drivers, it's a danger to innocent bystanders, and as we've seen in past experience, it's also a danger to law enforcement," says Garza. Last year during the holiday driving period from Thanksgiving to New Year's, there were 12 drunken driving deaths in Harris County and deputies made 258 arrests for DWI. A similar crackdown last week over Christmas weekend netted 21 DWI arrests, including six who were third-time offenders.
The Sheriff's Office recommends that anyone who's had too much to drink this New Year's make use of the multiple options available, including calling a family member or friend for a ride, calling a cab, using Metro's free bus service, or AAA's free "Tipsy Tow" service. Those who are hosting parties or events are also advised to make sure their guests get home safely or allow guests who've had too much to drink to spend the night on the couch, floor, or guest room. If you do take to the roads, Garza warns that deputies will be watching you. "Making sure that everybody is abiding by the rules, and for those who are not, we guarantee you will be caught and you will end up in the Harris County Jail."