Authorities are taking steps to ensure that drunk driving fatalities and accidents are at a low this year by increasing the number of patrol officers on duty as people ring in the New Year.


Authorities are taking steps to ensure that drunk driving fatalities and accidents are at a low this year by increasing the number of patrol officers on duty as people ring in the New Year.


“We take this thing serious, because we know drunk driving kills people all the time, and we enjoy saving lives,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West said Tuesday. “We just want to make sure we make it to the next couple of years without losing people.”


According to West, Oklahoma has recorded the lowest number of traffic fatalities in five years over the past 12 months,and authorities will be working hard to keep that number down. West said the maximum number of Highway Patrol officers available will be out on duty and there will definitely be officers on the roads who take pleasure in making drunk driving arrests.


“They are going to get out there and aggressively look for drunk drivers, because they feel like they are going to help make sure the public is safe when they make those arrests, and that’s the kind of attitude we want,” West said. “If you get hammered, we’re going to nail you.”


And Carter County officials have the same attitude. Carter County Sheriff Ken Grace is planning to hike up the number of deputies on the road between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., he said.


“We’ll be checking for drunk driving activities and safety belts. We just want everyone to have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and we’re going to try to see that everyone does,” Grace said. “We’ll have our regular officers out, plus a few reserves will be out.”


Ardmore police officials are in full support of the alternatives to driving under the influence, because the extra cost of getting home safely is far less than the cost of taking lives in an accident or covering the cost of personal injury or damage to vehicle, said Sgt. Ryan Hunnicutt, Ardmore Police Department Patrol Division. 


“We would encourage anyone, who is going to celebrate this holiday by drinking, to please use a designated driver. Also, there are several cab services that are open and will be open and tow vehicles,” said Hunnicutt. “We will encourage all of our citizens to be safe and to make decisions that are based on their safety and the safety of others.”


Keith Howard, 221-6542
keith.howard@ardmoreite.com