New Year's Eve--like St. Patrick's Day--has a reputation as being "amateur night" for drinkers, bringing out people who too easily imbibe to excess while celebrating.
Unfortunately, that can lead to too many people driving under the influence. Although the won't be setting up any sobriety checkpoints New Year's Eve, officers will be out in force on village's roads.
"We handle it like we do any other night. ... We have extra officers and available that night," said Commander Kevin Keegan. "Obviously, we try to be proactive and prepare. It's different every year. That's just the nature of every day police work."
One big difference this year is that a DUI accident could cost offenders a little more thanks to a new state law the village has been taking advantage of since earlier this year. The law, the DUI/Accident Personnel Time Report, lets the village recoup the expense of police officers investigating the scene of an accident caused by a drunken driver, Keegan said.
The village received its first reimbursement in July and has collected about $2,400 since then, according to Sandy Babka, Frankfort Finance director.
Along with encouraging people to use a designated driver while they're out on New Year's Eve, the Frankfort Police also offered the following tips to help make celebrating safe:
- Bring only what you need in a handbag or wallet, such as a driver’s license, money and one credit card.
- Watch sharing where you are on social media sites, because it alert others you'r not home.
- Auto accidents because of alcohol consumption are highest between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. Be careful on the road during those times.
- When possible, take public transportation or a cab to and from where you're celebrating. This avoids needing a designated driver or leaving your car somewhere overnight.
- If driving, park in a well-lit, populated area.
- Make sure car windows are rolled up, doors are locked and valuables are hidden.
- Be on guard and aware of your surroundings.
- Travel with a group or in pairs if you're attending a large party with crowds.
- Use the “buddy” system so you can confirm everyone got home safely at the end of the night.
- Do not leave drinks unattended. Finish it before you hit the restroom or dance floor.
- Eat and drink water or non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic ones.
- Watch out for intoxicated walkers who aren't paying attention to lights or crosswalks.
- Do not walk anywhere alone. You might be setting yourself up for an attacker to target you. Pay attention to where you are going and look for bumps, holes and curbs to avoid injury.
- Call the police if you see anything illegal or suspicious taking place.