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Play safe

Local law enforcement officers give tips for a safe holiday celebration

December 31, 2012
By PETER KASPARI, , Messenger News

As people all over Iowa prepare to ring in 2013 this week, local law enforcement officials are reminding everyone to stay safe while celebrating.

Locally, officers will be out to make sure people are traveling safely and not driving while drunk.

Assistant Fort Dodge Police Chief Kevin Doty said over the years his department has noticed an interesting trend when it comes to incidents police respond to.

"A lot of times weather plays a role in what kind of evening our officers have," he said. "If the weather is nice, that tends to bring more people out."

While Doty said that doesn't necessarily mean there will be more citations, he said officers will be out to make sure nobody is drunk driving.

"They'll be watching for vehicles that are moving about the city and looking for signs that people may be driving under the influence," he said.

Doty said if people plan on going out on New Year's Eve, they should make a plan before they begin their celebrations.

"Having a designated driver is a very good idea," he said. "Have all that taken care of before you go out."

He added that even if those plans aren't in place, anybody out celebrating should be aware of what's going on.

"If you feel you partake in drinking too much, either call a friend that has not been drinking or call a taxi," he said. "Don't take the chance of getting behind the wheel and driving buzzed or intoxicated. You put yourself and everybody on the road at risk when that happens."

Doty said this also applies to people who decide to host their own events.

"If you are having a party, be aware of the people who are there," he said. "If you know someone drank too much and can't get home safely, as a host you need to have a plan in place. Either allow them to stay over or have somebody get them home safely."

Webster County Chief Deputy Jim Stubbs said those who plan on driving should be careful.

"Be fully aware of your surroundings and of other vehicles that are traveling," he said. "It doesn't take very many drinks to impair one's ability to drive, especially if there's bad weather."

Stubbs said the deputies will also be on patrol.

"Our main concern is the safety of all the individuals on the road," he said. "The consequences for driving while impaired can be steep."

Both Doty and Stubbs said what's most important is that people stay safe while still having a good time.

"Enjoy the holiday, but do everything responsibly," Stubbs said.

Doty agreed with Stubbs.

"That is so important to have a plan in place," he said. "We really hope that people have a good time, but do it responsibly so that everybody is safe out there."



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