The New Year’s holiday is typically a time when local police agencies beef up their patrols all over the county in an attempt to decrease drunk driving. Each local agency instituted plans to conduct road blocks and to increase patrols in the area.
Though the police agencies increased patrols, there were no DUI arrests made throughout the holiday weekend, according to the Bell County Detention Center website. Along with that, there were only three public intoxication arrests made during the holiday.
“We are pretty pleased about (the lack of DUI arrests),” said Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe.
Sharpe said he believes it’s a sign of people becoming more aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. He said people have begun holding lock-in parties and acquiring a designated driver during the holidays.
“It only takes one really bad (alcohol-related accident) to bring us back to reality,” said Bell County Sheriff Bruce Bennett. On Christmas Eve, an accident in Knox County left five people dead, including four members of one family headed to Harlan County for Christmas.
“We have to be vigilant and make sure (drunk driving) doesn’t happen,” said Bennett.
Bennett stated he hopes the law enforcement agencies efforts to increase awareness and increased patrols made people think twice before drinking and driving. He also said he believes drinking and driving has decreased in recent years.
A spokesman for Kentucky State Police Post 10 indicated troopers made 27 DUI arrests during the entire month of December within the three-county coverage area of Bell, Harlan and Knox.
Pineville Police Chief Bill Matthews was not available for comment.