Police Urge Caution On New Year’s Eve

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, which means more people will likely be out partying New Year’s Eve than in recent years.  That could mean more drunk drivers.

Derek Valcourt has a look at some options to get you home safely.

When the New Year’s fireworks are over and when the bars close down, it’s time to head home.  That’s when many drunk drivers hit the roads…in some cases, causing deadly accidents like the one that killed five members of a Parkville family on New Year’s Eve in 2008.  The driver that struck them had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. 

In fact, on average, AAA says every New Year’s Eve, 80 people are killed in drunk driving accidents.  That’s why they sponsor the Tipsy Taxi program: yellow cabs will give free rides to people who had too much to drink in Baltimore’s bars and restaurants.

“You must be in Baltimore City drinking at a bar or restaurant.  However, we will transport you home anywhere in the Baltimore metropolitan area up to a maximum of $50.  Anything above that amount becomes the responsibility of the passenger,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

You can also ride any of the MTA buses, light rail and subway for free New Year’s Eve.  They’ll have extended hours until 2 a.m.

“Miller Lite free rides is just one of those options available to make sure people plan ahead and get home safely,” said Julien Green, MillerCoors.

Maryland State Police say DUI arrests have been on the rise in recent years.  After folks rang in 2008, troopers locked up 158 drunk drivers.  Last year’s holiday was one of the worst so far: 201 DUI arrests.  This New Year’s, Maryland State Police promise they’ll be out in force.

“People know that drinking and driving do not mix and so if they know they’re going to be drinking on New Year’s Eve, know that the state troopers will be out there looking for them,” said Elena Russo, Maryland State Police.

Last year, the Tipsy Taxi program provided nearly 100 free rides to people on New Year’s Eve.  If you need the cab ride, call 1-877-963-TAXI.


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