APD to increase patrols for New Year’s Eve - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD to increase patrols for New Year’s Eve

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The Austin Police Department says it is preparing for the large crowds expected to be out celebrating downtown on New Year's Eve.

Police say they expect a lot of people to be drinking and are aiming to keep everyone safe.

They expect a lot of people from nearby counties and have partnered with neighboring law enforcement agencies to monitor all corridors in and out of Austin. Extra officers and troopers will be on the road looking for drunk drivers.

Additionally, a No Refusal initiative starts at 5:00 PM on Tuesday and ends 9:00 AM on New Year's Day.

In 2013, 75 people died in traffic crashes. Police say 45% of those accidents involved alcohol.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is urging everyone to designate a sober driver before heading out.

"If you are going to go out and drink for New Year's, we just want you to plan ahead, designate a driver," said Angela Tidwell of MADD. "Be that friend, because you can be that life saver that saves lives, your friends' lives, other peoples' lives on the road."

Police are also reminding people that even the designated drive will have to be aware of his or her surroundings while driving.

"When you got so many people concentrated, you absolutely need to be aware of where you're going and what you're doing," Detective Michael Jennings with the APD DWI unit said. "You have to watch out for other drivers around you, especially on I-35 and MoPac, these are major corridors. There are a lot of intoxicated drivers and you gotta be aware of what you're doing."

In addition to designated drivers and taxis, MADD suggests looking at companies like Sober Monkeys or Spare Driver. For a fee, they will drive you home in your car so that you do not have to worry about leaving your car downtown.

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