AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas Department of Public Safety and Amarillo Police are increasing patrols ahead of New Year’s Eve weekend, focusing on stopping drunk driving.
Texas DPS Sgt. Cindy Barkley said they expect more people on the roads as they celebrate this weekend.
“We understand that this is one of the most celebrated days of the year, and there tends to be alcohol involved,” said Sgt. Barkley. “So before you even start your evening celebration, please plan ahead and designate that sober driver, or get a hold of a rideshare service ahead of time to come pick you up.”
Barkley also encouraged people to watch out for other drivers as well.
“If you happen to see someone out on the road that you think might be driving impaired, please call 911 and get a vehicle description to the police when you call,” she said.
According to Sgt. Barkley, DPS will have every available trooper on patrol this weekend.
“We’ll be looking for those dangerous violations such as speeders, driving distracted, people who aren’t wearing their seatbelt, and obviously drinking and driving.”
Amarillo Police Department Sgt. Carla Burr said they are focusing on preventing DWI-related crashes.
“We already hired extra officers for Friday night and Saturday night and those officers are specifically hired for DWI patrol,” Sgt. Burr said. “So we’re definitely going to be out there and if we stop you, you’re going to jail if you’re intoxicated.”
Sgt. Burr also reminded drivers that a DWI in Texas can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 including fines, jail time, and lawyer’s fees.
“It’s not right to put other people on the roads in danger like that. So we will have extra officers out they will be looking for that,” she added. “But we really want this to be a great new year’s and we want people to enjoy it. We want people to be safe.”
Sgt. Burr went so far as to say she would prefer someone who had been drinking to call APD and personally ask her for a ride than to get behind the wheel and drive.
“A lot of people like to have alcohol and no one’s saying you can’t, but be responsible and get a sober ride,” she said. “Take an Uber, Lyft, taxi, have a friend be the designated driver.”
She said some wrecker services will even offer to tow drivers and their cars home safely.
“People have got to realize it’s 2022. It’s about to be 2023. Everybody knows everybody in the entire U.S. knows that drinking and driving is illegal,” Sgt. Burr continued. “And there’s so many options in Amarillo that can get you to and where to and from where you need to go without drinking and driving. There’s absolutely no reason to drive your car, if you’ve been drinking.”