Law enforcement will be out in force during the New Year's holiday.

Each year at this time, many law enforcement agencies around the United States increase their focus on the issue of drinking and driving.

If you do plan to drive to a New Year’s gathering, remember to buckle up and obey all traffic laws, says the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

If your plans include alcohol, choose a designated driver. “The highway is no place for a driver who has been drinking,” Col. Ron Replogle of the patrol said.

During the New Year’s traffic crash counting period from 6 p.m., Friday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, all available officers will be on the roadways. Last year, 1,198 traffic crashes occurred in Missouri over the New Year’s holiday weekend. In those crashes five people were killed and 386 were injured.

Local authorities will also beef up their efforts this weekend.

Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell said all six of his department’s officers and all four of its patrol cars would be working the roads and highways on the year’s biggest night of celebration.

“We’ll be out in full force Friday night, looking for those who make the poor decision to drink and drive,” McNiell said. “We’re hoping that making our presence known ahead of time will help remind people to use a designated driver or find alternative transportation if they’ve had too much to drink.

“We want to welcome the new year and help it to be safe for everybody out there ringing it in. We do want to remind people not to drive if they’ve had too much to drink, because if we catch them it’s not going to be pleasant.”

The Texas County Sheriff’s Department will double patrols for both Friday and Saturday nights.

Lt. Melissa Dunn said she figured deputies could see their cars’ odometers put on 600 miles during the period.


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