There’s great news for local residents who plan to celebrate the New Year by way of libations and return home safely.
Local law enforcement officials will again offer free rides home to those who feel they can’t drive home safely after the party is over.
“The sheriff’s office has had a long-term offer to people that if they are too tipsy to drive home, give us a call and if we are available to do it, we’ll give them a ride home,” Nye County Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall said. “We certainly won’t take them to another bar or party, but we will have our Safe Ride Home program in place.”
Additionally, Marshall said the sheriff’s office wants to make their presence known along valley roadways on New Year’s Eve to help ensure a safe holiday weekend, as deputies will be out in force looking for drunken and drugged drivers beginning today.
“We’ll be out there with extra manpower, roving patrols and things of that nature,” he said.
Aside from the dangers of drunk driving, Marshall reminded those, especially women who may drink excessively, to try and rely on their own common sense as they celebrate throughout the evening.
“It’s never a good idea to go in bars and accept drinks from strangers,” he advised. “If someone is going to buy you a drink, make sure that it’s poured in your presence. Don’t accept open drinks from strangers and always let a friend know exactly where you will be or even try and take a friend with you. Don’t ever leave a bar with strangers. If something doesn’t feel right, get out of the situation. Call the sheriff’s office or call a friend.”
Marshall said the sheriff’s office will also conduct bar checks where deputies enter an establishment to look for potential problems that may develop later in the evening.
“We look for people that are unable to care for the safety of themselves or others and compliance,” he said. “We certainly don’t want minors in establishments that serve alcohol. Everybody wants to have a good safe time and that’s the goal of the sheriff’s office. To ensure that it’s a good safe time for everybody.”
Those who opt for the Safe Ride program will have to make arrangements to be reunited with their automobile when all is said and done.
“They can have someone who is sober to get the car that night, or the next day,” Marshall said. “We certainly will not drive it home for them.”
Marshall noted that deputies will perform roving patrols as well as saturation patrols throughout New Year’s Eve.
“What we do is put additional officers in an area and they are on the lookout for things that pose a danger to the public,” he said. “Erratic driving, stop sign violations and things of that nature.”
Marshall noted that there will be no DUI Checkpoints in Nye County during the holiday weekend.
“We used to run checkpoints many, many years ago and what we found is that Nye communities are so small, people will know immediately where they are going to be and they avoid them,” he said. “If you’re drunk and driving, you probably will not go through the checkpoint. We have found that saturation patrols work much better in detecting people, rather than having a checkpoint.”
Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said this week that contrary to what many people believe, New Year’s Eve, at least in Nye County, doesn’t equate to an inordinate number of DUI arrests.
“The Super Bowl is much bigger for DUI’s than New Year’s Eve,” he said. “New Year’s Eve has been pounded in people’s heads so much about not drinking and driving, but honestly I don’t recall responding to an accident on New Year’s Eve or Day, but the Super Bowl is the one that seems to have more.”
A check of traffic-related DUI accidents on New Year’s Eve/Day since 2008, revealed there were no DUI accidents reported by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
Pahrump Valley residents who plan to travel to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year should be aware of several restrictions and road closures over the hill.
According to the Nevada Department of Transportation upwards of 300,000 people are expected to celebrate New Year’s in Las Vegas, with many of them welcoming in 2015 on the Las Vegas Strip.
“To help make the event safer for travelers, the Nevada Department of Transportation and other local partners will restrict vehicle access on Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara Avenue to Mandalay Bay,” said Department Public Information Officer Tony Illia in a press release. “In addition, I-15 southbound and northbound on-ramps and off-ramps will be closed at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 31 at Spring Mountain Road, Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue. Motorists can enter and exit I-15 at Sahara Avenue and at Russell Road.”
Additionally, Illia said vehicle access will also be restricted at various locations around the Strip.
Meanwhile, Nye County revelers who would like to take advantage of NCSO’s Safe Ride program may do so by calling the Nye County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 775-751-7000.