Fewer drunk driving arrests on New Year's Eve


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Jason Thomason

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — Police are proud to say New Year's Eve Holiday Enforcement Zones didn't lead to as many arrests as you might think.

A Kentucky State Police Spokesperson said every year they find fewer drunk drivers on New Year's Eve.

Local 6 obtained the numbers from police.

K.S.P. Post 1 Arrested only five people for drunk driving. And that's not because police weren't looking.
They had three 'enforcement zones' and lots of officers working overtime.
Police think the dangers of drinking and driving are finally sinking in.

Someone must be watching all the drunk driving PSA's.

Because officer of 13 years, Jay Thomas, says it seems fewer drunk drivers hit the highways on New Year's Eve.

"In the time span that I've been a trooper we've seen a decrease," Thomas said.

Melinda Thompson, a long-time bartender at the Kountry Kastle notices a difference, too.

"I think they're actually just getting smart, using their brains," Thompson said.

She said this morning her parking lot was full of cars, belonging to wise drivers who decided not to drive.

"They don't want to go to jail," Thompson said.

Many who didn't want to leave their car, had a 'designated driver.'

A sign the sobering messages are sinking in.

The Kentucky State Police official holiday enforcement campaign, 'Operation Holiday Lights,' ended, but Thomas said that doesn't mean officers aren't still out looking for impaired drivers.

They issued a total of 59 citations including four criminal arrests. Many of those citations were issued to drivers not buckled up. Police have a special light they can use to illuminate your car's interior to see if your seat belt is fastened.
Trooper Thomas said K.S.P. was awarded a federal grant to pay for officer overtime last night.