BLUFFTON, Sc. (WSAV) – Many rang in the 2018 New Year with a toast alongside friends and family, but it’s also a very popular holiday for drinking and driving.
Bluffton Police arrested nine people for drinking and driving on New Year’s weekend. That’s more than half the amount they’ve arrested for DUIs since they started their Sober or Slammer Campaign in mid-December.
Officer Jeb Fey could have spent the holiday at home with his family, considering his first son was born just days before; but instead he chose to work.
“I arrange my schedule to work this holiday,” Fey said, “I’ve been to several fatal collisions throughout my career and quite frankly, I’d rather come out and put people in jail for impaired driving then have to go knock on doors and tell people their loved ones aren’t coming home.”
Police, sheriff’s deputies and highway patrol shared the roads on a rainy New Year’s Eve as many celebrated with friends, drinking, and for some, driving.
WSAV set out to patrol the streets with Officer Fey a few hours before midnight.
“Some of the things we look for that are indicative of impaired driving are people failing to maintain their lane, speeding, going below the speed limit,” he said.
Something as simple as not putting your blinker on a hundred feet before turning can result in a sobriety test.
Fey and many of his coworkers conducted quite a few of these tests Sunday, four resulting in arrests for DUIs.
“It’s a selfish crime. People think that they can make it home, they don’t want to take the time to get an Uber or a taxi,” Fey said, “They choose to be selfish and get behind the wheel, and jeopardize themselves as well as other people on the roadway.”
Police say if they see a suspicious drunk driver, they should call 9-1-1, report the location, tags, and vehicle description. Fey says, if it’s safe, stay behind the driver until an officer arrives.
They want to remind people this isn’t just New Year’s and it’s not just alcohol. Distracted driving and speeding are also claiming lives, so if you don’t follow this already, it’s the perfect time for a New Year’s Resolution.