Police Prepare for New Year's DUI Crackdown

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- As many people get ready for New Year's Eve celebrations, police also are gearing up to catch drunk drivers.

Troopers say there's a deadly combination this time of year of more people on the road and alcohol-fueled holiday parties. That's why police say they'll be out in force to ring in 2014.

WSAZ.com spoke with Lt. Barry Call with the Ohio Highway Patrol. He says it's important for party-goers to find a designated driver or call a taxi if they've been drinking. Call says people should realize even buzzed driving is drunk driving.

So far this year, the Ohio Highway Patrol has made more than 23,000 operating-a-vehicle-while-intoxicated (OVI) arrests. That's a number troopers unfortunately expect to climb as we wrap up the holiday season.

Troopers say those fun celebrations can quickly turn into tragedy.

"We always hate to get that phone call," Lt. Call said. "Any night but specifically around the holidays. We get that phone call there's been a bad accident or someone has lost their life. Then they tell you those famous words, there's alcohol or drugs involved. It's a continuous battle we fight on a day-to-day basis."

Both the Ohio Highway Patrol and the West Virginia State Police have received federal funding, specifically for New Year's Patrols. They say those will begin at midnight Dec. 31.

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