Local police officers urge people to drive sober on New Year’s Eve

As many can’t wait to say goodbye to 2020, New Year’s Eve can often be a dangerous night as many impaired drivers get behind the wheel.
Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 6:22 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As many anxiously await to ring in the new year, officers urge people to celebrate safely and avoid driving after a night of drinking.

“They’re drinking, maybe they’re not as responsible as they normally are when they have been drinking then they’ll go out and drive,” said Winnebago County Sergeant Jason Newell.

According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, 276 people were killed last year in alcohol related crashes, and officers made more than 26,00 DUI arrests.

“There’s a lot of things I think people forget before they get behind the wheel,” said Beloit Police Department Lieutenant Dave Elrod. “They don’t think about the consequences.”

The secretary of state’s office also says the average cost of a DUI in Illinois is more than $18,000. Despite the legal and financial consequences, officers say people still get behind the wheel drunk.

“People say ‘oh I’m only a couple minutes from home’ or ‘I only had to go to the other side of town’ and they don’t realize going to the other side of town could be detrimental,” said Elrod.

Newell reminds people to seek out other ways to get home if you’ve been drinking.

“Don’t drive yourself if you think you’ve had too much to drink,” said Newell. “There’s plenty of rideshare services out there that could be used in addition to taxi cabs.”

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