Local Officers See DUI Dropoff on New Year's Eve

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While Rockfordians rocked the streets, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department flocked the roads on New Year's Eve.

"What we have to look at for a program being success or not is that we survived a New Year's Eve without fatal accidents or anyone getting hurt," Bob Springer said.

Thirty five officers spent the evening patrolling Winnebago County's busy roadways. By daybreak officers made two DUI arrests, fewer than the half dozen typically made in previous years.

"We did make a couple of DUI arrests for people who didn’t take advantage of the program, but other than that it was a quiet night on New Year's Eve," Springer said.

Lt. Springer credits the Sheriff's Department’s “Ride Home” program as a reason in the DUI drop-off. The program stayed steadily busy all night, transporting four dozen people home safely.

"We were able to take almost 50 people home and certainly that's 50 people who realized they didn’t want to be out driving," Springer said.

And while officers admit the average 400 DUI arrests a year remain high, they hope the New Year will mark a new beginning for safer drivers and safer roadways.

"Inevitably it would seem like there is always some kind of minor damage or minor injury crashes. We were pretty lucky we didn’t have any of those," Springer said.

And on the night the ball dropped in New York City, local drivers didn't drop the ball behind the wheel.