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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Ring in the new year-- but do it safely

Friday, December 30, 2005

- Officers in Brazil and Terre Haute will be watching the streets and highways Saturday

Before saying "Bottoms up" this New Year's Eve, remember that you have to get home.

Saturday night, many people will gather to ring in the new year. It is an evening to celebrate either the start of the new year or the end of a year that will go down in history.

While honky-tonkers are slamming shots, toasting with bubbly, cracking brewskies and shaking up cocktails, local law enforcement officers are scoping out watering holes and watching for impaired drivers.

Brazil City Police Chief Mark Loudermilk and Indiana State Police Cpl. Michael Capicik suggested that if people are going to celebrate the new year by drinking, they should call a sober friend or select a designated driver. Loudermilk stresses that a designated driver is someone who hasn't consumed any alcoholic beverages, not the person who has had the least amount to drink.

Capicik said that state troopers will coordinate their efforts with local sheriff's departments and city police to catch impaired drivers.

Officers in Brazil and Terre Haute will be on the lookout for patrons who have had too much to drink and choose to get behind the wheel.

"What we see a lot on New Year's Eve is people who don't drink very often and they are just going out to celebrate. Those people tend to be responsible," Loudermilk said. "Of course, there are the ones that overindulge."

Loudermilk said the people who are not responsible are the ones that officers will find and be placed under arrest. He also encourages civilians to report possible impaired drivers to the authorities.

There are some signs to tell if a driver is impaired. Officers look for motorists who are driving erratically, without headlights, left of the center line, swerving or speeding. The officer will perform a traffic stop and may ask the driver to participate in field sobriety tests and blow into a portable Breathalyzer unit.

The legal limit to drive after alcohol consumption is .08 percent Blood Alcohol Content. According to Loudermilk, a person can still be arrested for driving under the influence if the person fails the field sobriety tests but passes the breath test with at least a .05 B.A.C.

The driver may refuse to participate in the sobriety tests, but will automatically face a year without a driver's license, not to mention other possible charges.

According to Loudermilk, anyone who is driving in the State of Indiana implies consent to submit to an alcohol (urine or blood) test if asked by the acting officer.

Loudermilk warns, "People need to be careful and understand the consequences of their actions."

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