FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — The new year brings a lot of celebrations to the area, many could be ringing in 2020 by drinking too much.
Police across the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas are working to keep the roads safe from drunk drivers this New Year's Eve.
People will be filling bars on Dickson Street and Garrison Avenue as they celebrate the new year.
Just like any night out though, Fayetteville Police do not want you to drive if you’ve been drinking and are encouraging people to have a plan to get home safely.
“We are probably about a thousand times busier on new year’s eve just because people are calling for sober rides and safe drivers they know they can trust,” said Laura Butler, lead dispatcher for NWA Taxi.
Butler encourages people to call 30 or 45 minutes before they're ready to go home to ensure they'll be able to get a driver in a timely manner. She says all of their drivers are safe and insured.
“We keep the same rate all the time, it does not change, it does not fluctuate as Uber and Lyft do charge a lot higher at New Year’s Eve because of the need for the services,” Butler said.
Many police departments and sheriff’s offices in the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas will have extra patrols out tonight.
Fayetteville Police Sergeant Anthony Murphy says just like on Razorback game days and Bikes, Blues and BBQ, their officers are used to dealing with large crowds in the entertainment district.
“We’ll have some DWI mobilization units out there looking for impaired drivers, so if you get behind the wheel of a car there will be officers out there looking to put you behind bars to keep the rest of the community safe,” Murphy said.
Whether you chose to use a ride-sharing company like Uber and Lyft, or a taxi to get home, it’s still a lot cheaper than making the wrong choice and getting behind the wheel when you're impaired. A DWI comes with fines, court costs, legal fees and time lost from work.
“And also the embarrassment of being on the Washington County website first thing New Year's Day," Murphy said. "So, let’s not do that and be safe tonight and get a designated driver, an Uber driver or Lyft driver or taxi cab. Let’s all get home safe and enjoy 2020.”
If you are out on Dickson tonight and feel like you’ve had too much to drink, officers will be patient with you and will help you find a safe ride home.
In Franklin County the sheriff’s office is actually offering free rides to anyone who needs a sober driver. They say there are no tricks or gimmicks, just a safe ride because they have a zero-tolerance policy on drinking and driving. They say to just call the sheriff’s office or dispatch.
The Logan County Sheriff's Office will also be offering a safe ride home to those who find themselves in no condition to drive. If you find yourself needing a ride home in Logan County tonight, call 479-963-3271.
U of A students can also call Safe Ride at 479-575-7233.