MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Take a few minutes to plan ahead before going out to celebrate the arrival of 2020 can avoid a mountain of trouble later. A simple message from Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston as New Years Eve traditionally coincides with an uptick in DUI arrests.
“There is really no reason for anyone to get a DUI arrest in the area with the amount of public transportation — taxi cabs, Ubers, Lyfts, ride share programs, designated drivers,” Preston said. “We’re always encouaring people — don’t become a statistic, use your friends, have a designated driver if you are going to have a party.”
According to data from BACtrack, DUI-related fatalities increase by about 50 percent during the New Year’s holiday.
“Set aside someone to make sure that everyone gets home safely or have a situation established so that you have a rideshare or a taxi to take people home,” Preston said.
That advice, he added, is true whether you are at a bar, club, or someone’s home.
“Every year, we have people to fail to heed the good advice and good warnings and they still continue to get picked up for DUI,” Preston said.
Though it may seem like it, Preston said there aren’t actually more officers patrolling roadways on New Year’s Eve. Rather, they have less to do and can focus their attentions on traffic.
“A lot of things that they would normally be doing they are not having to do,” he said. “And they are able to focus on the traffic violations during that time frame. A lot of the retail stores are closed so they aren’t having to patrol those parking lots or respond to those calls for service.”
As awareness increases, Preston said alcohol-related DUI’s have started to come down — but other types of DUI crimes are now on the rise.
“We’re still having DUI’s. They just may not be alcohol related now. Buzzed driving is drunk driving,” he said.