Police Warn Drivers to Stay Sober on New Years Eve

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Grand Island, NE As you celebrate the New Year, police ask you to be responsible and have other ways to get home if you've had too much to drink.

In 2013 the Grand Island Police Department had 363 DUIs which goes along with 80 from the Hall County Sheriff's Office. But now they are preparing for one of their biggest DUI nights of the year.

The Police Department said if an officer suspects you have been drinking, they will pull you over. The officer will give you a field sobriety test, then an initial breath test.

Authorities said there is no way to positively test if you're too drunk to drive before police pull you over. If you suspect there's a chance, then you're too drunk!

Police say Driving Under the Influence is dangerous because of how it affects everything you do while you're driving.

Wes Tjaden with the Grand Island Police Department's Patrol Division said, "Pressing on the accelerator, pressing on the brake, turning the steering wheel, looking each direction, looking for stop lights, stop signs. There's that many 2,000+ actions that a driver is doing as they go down the road. When you have alcohol or drugs added into that, that can speed up all the bodies normal process or slow them down."

According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services after 9 pm one in every 12 drivers is legally drunk.

Drinking a little or a lot can have a big effect on your life. DHHS said having five drinks in one night can affect your brain and physical activities for up to three days.

"I think a lot of people underestimate the amount of impairment that comes with being a buzzed driver alone. Somebody has 3, 4, 5 drinks, they're not a regular drinker, haven't ate a lot, all of those things can come into play," said Tjaden.

Grand Island has a history of DUIs on New Year's Eve.

"Last year we were a little short staffed, so I think we only had 2 DUIs," said Tjaden. "Now the year before that we had a few more officers working the street, a few more working grant, we had 8 DUI's that year. The prior year to that we had 7 so it all varies on how many officers we actually have on the street."

This year there are 14 officers on duty, which could lead to more drivers paying severe consequences.

"You could lose your license for up to 15 years depending on how many DUIs you have and of course you have the jail time as a possibility and that all varies depending on the offense," said Tjaden of possible consequences of a DUI.

That doesn't include the average $5,000 cost.

There is also the immediate reaction alcohol has on the human body.

Medical expert Dr. Mark Anderson said, "Drinking too much alcohol can trigger an inflammatory immune response in the body, causing aches and pains. Downing an aspirin or ibuprofen can help lessen that response."

Police have a few recommendations to avoid all these issues.

"The biggest suggestion I have is the designated driver and the designated driver does not mean somebody that has 1 or 2 drinks. I'm talking more the driver that doesn't have anything at all to drink. Calling a taxi, utilizing them will help out a lot too. You don't have anything to worry about if you're not behind the wheel," said Tjaden.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over grant will be adding more officers from the Police and Sheriff's departments along with State Patrol.

In 2012 the DUI conviction rate in Nebraska was 90%, according to DHHS.

For more details on avoiding Driving Under the Influence click the link below to the Nebraska Highway Traffic Safety Administration's impaired driving website.

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