New Year’s Eve DUIs down in recent years
The message to not drink and drive might be getting through to some of the potential partiers this New Year’s Eve, according to Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff.
“It’s a myth there is a lot of drunks out on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “Nowadays, people plan ahead.”
Kaiser said even as recent as the early 2000s, officers were “pretty much guaranteed there would be a DUI” if they worked on New Year’s Eve.
“The past few years people have gotten a lot smarter about drinking and driving,” he said.
Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police, said his department has also seen a reduction in New Year’s Eve drunk driving although he did not have statistics on holiday DUIs.
“There are less people driving intoxicated,” he said. “It still happens and we do make arrests, but the planning by the public has gotten better.”
Some people who plan on drinking are planning on taking a taxi rather than getting behind the wheel, according to Doug Fogderud, owner of Jamestown Taxi.
“New Year’s Eve is pretty busy and gets pretty wild,” he said. “It doesn’t match the Runnin O’ the Green (pub crawl), but it’s busy.”
Fogderud said the cold temperatures forecast for this weekend will make a warm taxi more inviting for travelers moving from bar to bar.
“They’ll deal with the cold,” he said. “That’s not going to stop people from having fun. Most have plenty of antifreeze.”
Edinger credited education and enforcement for an improving situation when it comes to holiday drunk driving.
“It is certainly an improvement over 20 years ago,” he said. “The cost of getting a DUI has gotten so steep not just in the courts but insurance and at work. There have been some pretty notorious drunk driving accidents. All those things resonate.”