New Year’s Eve Safety: Floyd County Sheriff advises defensive driving

By Courtney Slaughter

Partying with friends, watching New York City on television, and counting down from 60 are all parts of the famous New Year’s Eve bash. Even during all of the fun, one must consider all of the dangers this holiday entails.

“Everyone drinks on New Year’s Eve,” one senior male said. “We all know that you’re not supposed to, but everyone will end up doing it.”

Drinking for adults and teens on this holiday is a big issue. Not only the fact that there is underage drinking going on, but the fact that these adults and teenagers sometimes get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. Being aware of all your surroundings as a sober driver will help you point out those people who are intoxicated and are attempting to operate a motor vehicle.

“Some signs to look for of intoxicated drivers are slow moving vehicles, vehicles traveling outside their lane improperly, excessive speed, unsafe lane changes, failure to signal, and failure to dim their headlights,” Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills said.

Being aware of your surroundings is the most important task while driving on New Year’s Eve, but taking precautions to prevent any accidents is the next step in making it to your party safe and sound.

“When driving on New Year’s Eve, be aware of erratic driving behaviors by others, be aware of weather and road surface conditions, allow extra time for travel due to possible congested roadways, check all your safety equipment and wear your seatbelts,” Sheriff Mills said. “If you are going to drink on New Year’s Eve night, find a designated driver, be familiar with your surroundings, make sure to observe all vehicles close to you in case a problem occurs, and limit travel time as much as possible.”

Now that you’re aware of all the precautions to take, the question is what will law enforcement do to make sure you stay safe on this holiday?

“First and foremost, the department will put out extra law enforcement patrol, there will be more media awareness, and stiffer fines and penalties for violators,” Sheriff Mills said.

Adult drinking and driving is not the only issue now. Teenage drinking has made a turn for the worse, along with the invincibility that teenagers feel when they begin to drive while intoxicated.

“I believe teenage drinking is ignorant,” one senior female said. “A lot of negative things come from teenage drinking.”

Although police cannot monitor every teenage drinking party that arises on this holiday, they do try to prevent it in any way that they can.“Police watch the establishments that are hosting parties with underage drinking but they also rely on public information to tell of large parties that police are currently unaware of,” Sheriff Mills said.

Though some teens believe they are invincible to everything that could possibly go wrong in this type of situation, underage drinking has very severe consequences.

“Teens can actually be arrested,” Sheriff Mills said. “They can be cited into juvenile probation or released to their parents after the party has ceased.”

Some teens believe that drinking is the only way they can have fun on New Year’s Eve. But some believe that there are a lot of other ways that young people can have a good time on this holiday without alcohol.

“Teens can play holiday games and make cookies and candy,” one senior female said. “Sober parties are so much more fun than getting intoxicated in a drinking game.”

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