Dec 27, 2010 11:21 PM by Maddie Garrett
The holidays are a time for celebration, but a drunk driving arrest or worse, an accident, can ruin your holiday season. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has contracted with 87 agencies this year in a DWI crackdown during the Christmas and New Years holiday season.
There were already several DWI arrests over the Christmas weekend alone. And as law enforcement agencies get ready for New Year's Eve, they're warning party-goers if you don't have a safe ride home, prepare to face the consequences.
"Make sure that you either have a designated driver or if you get caught unexpectedly Tipsy Taxi is available," said Lt. Craig Stansbury with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.
The Sheriff Mike Neustrom started Tipsy Taxi a few years ago. At over 200 locations in the parish you can get a free ride home if you just ask for it. The Sheriff's Office pays the taxi drivers through a fund already set up. Many bars and restaurants in the area participate in the service.
"As a responsible vendor our goal is to make sure everyone has a safe ride home," said Robert Guercio, owner of the Green Room in downtown Lafayette.
He says this holiday season he's encouraging his customers to take advantage of Tipsy Taxi.
"I'll actually put posters in the rest rooms just as an extra reminder that you have a choice don't go home unless you're safe to drive," said Guercio.
Guercio would also like to see taxi cab stands in downtown Lafayette, to make a safe ride home easier for his and other bars' patrons. He says every person that uses a taxi from his bar makes him feel better.
"I sleep a lot better at night," he said.
And as the old saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry. Especially when so many people die in drunk driving accidents every year.
"If anyone is hurt or a life is lost, it's going to affect so many people around. And I think what really makes this disappointing and sad is it's preventable," said Stansbury.
State Police are also teaming up with local law enforcement agencies to conduct 50 sobriety checkpoints during the DWI crackdown this week.