FDPD: Have a plan for New Year’s

As plans are made to celebrate the ringing in of 2014, the Fort Dodge Police Department is reminding people to stay safe as they welcome the new year.

For those who are planning on going out and drinking alcohol, Assistant Police Chief Kevin Doty said there are a number of steps people can take to ensure that they protect themselves and others from intoxicated driving.

“If you are going to go out to a party or one of the bars that serve alcohol, the best thing you can do is have a designated driver,” Doty said. “If they do not have a designated driver, and they are partaking in alcoholic beverages, it’s a good idea to have someone make a call or use one of the taxis to come pick them up.”

Doty said designated drivers and public transportation can prevent those who have been drinking from getting into an accident.

“It’s a much better approach to ringing in the new year than getting into a car and attempting to drive home,” he said.

But it’s not just people themselves that should be aware of their actions. Doty said if someone else, such as the host of a party, recognizes that one of their guests isn’t able to drive they can help prevent them from getting behind the steering wheel as well.

“They can find a guest to ride home with them who will not allow them to drive,” he said. “It can also be the case of taking away their keys or having them stay over. It would be great if they made sure their guests weren’t driving home under the influence.”

Doty said officers will be out during the New Year’s celebrations to make sure people are abiding by the law.

“Their primary purpose is to look for people that are driving under the influence,” he said. “They will be out and we will be looking.”

But Doty said the goal of that enforcement is to make sure people are staying safe.

“Our hope is that people are responsible,” Doty said. “It would be a great New Year’s Eve to have people out celebrating responsibly and not putting themselves a position where they’re in a vehicle and driving while under the influence.”

He said the consequences of drunk driving should be considered before people get into a car and drive.

“Think of your own safety, the safety of people you’re with, and the safety of others out on the roads,” he said. “The big thing is to have a plan before you go out.

“We just want people to think about what they’re going to do,” he said. “We don’t want them to put themselves in a position where they could be arrested or involved in an accident and hurt someone.”