By Sylvia Gonzalez
MIDLAND - In just a few days, everyone will be welcoming in a new year, and for many, that means booze-fueled parties and lots of drinks in hand. In 2011, over 9,000 people died in drunk driving crashes in the U.S., that's one person every 53 minutes. According to Charles Hodges with Stop DWI, welcoming a new year is when there is a spike in DWI's.
"New Years is going to be a bigger celebration than Christmas. I would say that for the most part alcohol flows freely, it fuels just about everything that goes on," Hodges said.
For many party-goers, they'll be ringing in the new year at local bars, restaurants and clubs. Hodges says if you plan on serving up beers or cocktails, know when to stop serving the customer. Otherwise, you could be held responsible for any drunk driving accidents.
"For the most part, they're very much aware of that they can be held liable as well by furnishing an individual with too much alcohol. I would say for the most part they are very careful to take care of their customers," Hodges said.
Hodges says people should also be careful of the food they consume at parties because what you eat can have an impact on what you drink.
"The kinds of foods that they consume at parties, you know a lot of times we put out chips and pretzels and things like these which are salty and salt causes us to consume more liquid, and of course most of the liquid we consume happens to be alcohol," Hodges said.
If you find yourself in a bind on New Years Eve and without a sober driver, there's still a solution, STOP DWI encourages residents to call local law enforcement.
"Just be honest tell the police that you have been drinking at a party or at the bar and you consumed too much alcohol and you are not safe to drive home, they will in fact come get you and take you home free of charge," Hodges said.
Hodges has a word of advice for anyone who dares to go out and drink and drive this New Year's Eve.
"I would say to the public if you abuse the alcohol and operate a motor vehicle, you are going to answer to the law enforcement because they are going to enforce the law," Hodges said.