State highway safety officials are warning Nebraskans not to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking.
Go ahead and toast the New Year. Just don’t drink and drive.
“We want people to be smart. You certainly can have a good time, but have somebody designated as the sober driver and it’s best for them to not consume any alcohol,” Nebraska Highway Safety Administrator Fred Zwonechek tells Nebraska Radio Network.
This is the last holiday for the annual “You Drink and Drive, You Lose” campaign. The campaign uses a $200,000 federal grant to pay for 6,000 hours of overtime for extra officers on the roads as well as the dispatchers needed to crack down on drunk driving. Zwonechek says participating agencies include the Nebraska State Patrol as well as 22 police departments and 28 sheriff’s offices.
Zwonechek says drunk driving is a serious problem.
“Sadly, it’s one out of three of our traffic deaths annually over the last five years has been alcohol related,” according to Zwonechek. “So, if we could prevent that, one third of our traffic deaths would disappear.”
Last year, during the “You Drink and Drive, You Lose” campaign, 275 driving-under-the-influence arrests were made, along with 100 minor-in-possession arrests, and 79 for carrying an open container in the car. Nebraska suffered 71 alcohol-related traffic fatalities last year.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]