DUI Patrols Increased Over St. Patrick's Day Weekend - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

DUI Patrols Increased Over St. Patrick's Day Weekend

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Officers across the state are gearing up for a very busy weekend because of St. Patrick's Day. Law enforcement will be looking for drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol on highways and even some of the smaller roadways.

On Friday we went on a ride along to see what signs officers are looking for in impaired drivers. We accompanied Trooper Rob Conely of the Nevada Highway Patrol. He's one of many members of law enforcement who is planning to work this weekend. "We're looking for drivers who aren't staying in their lanes, speeding," said Conely. Officers also say they catch people drunk driving easily because they see them use their cell phones.

Nearly twice as many officers are expected to be out on the roads because of the holiday. "I've been on a lot of head-ons and those don't ever really turn out good," said Conely.

Troopers are using the DUI suppression method instead of setting up DUI checkpoints. "Anytime we normally did a checkpoint, we advertised it beforehand. Which did give drivers the upper hand, they knew where we were going to be," said Trooper David Gibson. We're told suppression is more effective. "Now with it just having more officers out on the highway, we're not just targeting that certain intersection, we're just kind of all over," said Gibson. The damage you could cause by drinking and driving is clearly not worth the risk. "You can either hurt yourself or hurt or kill someone else," said Gibson.

NHP says one person dies every 51 minutes from a DUI crash nationwide and in Nevada around 30% of crashes involve alcohol. Plus, it gets costly if you're caught drinking and driving. "A person with their first DUI can look at paying fines up to $10,000. I would rather pay a small fee to get a taxi cab to take me home than to pay $10,000 because I made the mistake thinking it was okay to drive home," said Gibson.

There's some free ride options available if you're interested. To encourage a safe driving on St. Patrick's day, AAA's "Tipsy Tow" program is offering to take you and your car home for free, up to 10 miles. Free rides are offered from 6:00 p.m. on St. Patrick's day to 6:00 a.m. the following morning. Just call 800-222-4357 and say "I need a tipsy tow" for a ride. 

RTC is also offering free rides from 4:00 p.m. to midnight on St. Patrick's Day. For route information you can call 348-RIDE.

Written by Chloe Beardsley

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