Don't drink and drive – tried and true advice from South Florida law enforcement to drivers who will ring in part of their new year on the roads.
The Miami-Dade Police, Miami Police and Florida Highway Patrol are teaming up for “Operation Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
From now until New Year's, you might notice extra officers on the roads.
"We're going to stay out a little later, we're going to have our drug recognition experts out on the street," said Assistant Chief Roy Brown of the Miami Police Department.
Each and every holiday season, road traffic spikes – and so do the dangers. That’s why police ramp up their patrols as well, they said as they announced their stepped-up enforcement effort at Miami Marine Stadium Tuesday. It lasts through Jan. 2.
Helen Witty of Mothers Against Drunk Driving deeply supports the move.
"My daughter was killed by a drunk driver going on 11 years now. I don't want this to happen to anyone else," she said.
While fewer deadly holiday crashes have occurred on Florida’s roads in recent years, 32 people died on the state’s roadways over the New Year’s holiday last year, and 12 of those fatalities were related to alcohol, said Sgt. Thomas Pikul, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman.
And of the 24 deaths on Florida’s roads over the four-day Christmas travel period in 2010, eight – or one-third – were related to alcohol, Pikul said.
When a similar ramped-up patrol was conducted over Thanksgiving, 136 people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and 26 people were killed in car crashes, according to the FHP.
This holiday season, police are asking partiers to plan ahead, ride only with a sober driver, and take mass transit if it’s available.
Even if you have only a couple of drinks, the effects on your driving can be significant.
“Your reaction time, even your vision, the muscles in your eye – almost every part of the body is impacted when you are impaired," Sally Matson of MADD said.