Law enforcement, bars remind people to plan for safe rides on New Year's Eve

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Posted at 10:19 AM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 12:19:25-05

HELENA — Local law enforcement, including the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office, are preparing for New Year's Eve. That includes reminding people who plan on drinking to arrange a safe ride home.

"Tri-county has provided over 5000 rides to date at 5000 drunk drivers," said Miller's Crossing Owner and President of the Tri-County Hospitality Association Bruce McCullough.

The association has been operating the Home Free ride program since the Spring of 2018, and they all participate in the home free ride program. The program allows bartenders to call someone a free ride home if they have been drinking.

"It just gives them the ability when you have an impaired person who's had too much to give them a free ride home and get them on the road," said McCullough.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton appreciates all the services dedicated to keeping drunk drivers from behind the steering wheel.

People venturing out on busy nights like New Year's Eve should plan to have a sober ride home.

Sheriff Dutton added that people should be patient if they have to turn to alternative services at peak hours.

"Don't end up killing someone because you got buzzed and didn't want to take the time either. Call a cab, call a wrecker service, call somebody, phone a friend. All of those options are available to you. Please don't drive," said Dutton.

Sheriff Dutton also reminded people that officers and deputies will be on the lookout for impaired drivers this holiday season working to ensure everyone gets home safely.

"It's a time of year where people aren't thinking," said Dutton, "buzzed driving seems to be acceptable and unfortunately that results in significant fatalities, crashes, and lost loved ones."