Ringing in the new year often means a big celebration with an abundance of spirits. But a little too much fun can cause too much harm.  When you drink and get behind he wheel you’re putting yourself and others at the risk.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period, an average of 300 people died each year over the past five years in drunk driving crashes.

Police will tell you driving is a privilege and they have no hesitation in taking that privilege away if you’re drunk driving. 

“In the State of Arkansas .08 and above is considered intoxicated,” said Sgt. Gene Page with the Bentonville Police Department.

Sgt. Page says many people believe two is the magical number when it comes to drinking and driving — meaning that by having two drinks anyone is capable of driving themselves and others.

“It’s not the number of beers that you’ve had. The content of that alcoholic drink and also body weight. When you consume alcohol it can peak up to a certain point. So at the time you make contact with a police officer you may be at the .08 but later when you do take the actual test it can rise higher because your body is processing that alcohol,” said Sgt. Page.

When you are suspected of drinking and driving police will conduct three Standard Field Sobriety tests at the time of your traffic stop before having you perform an official breathalyzer test. 

The Standard Field Sobriety tests consists of an eye test, a heel-to-toe walking test and and a 30 second one-leg stand. 

“What these test can do is help an officer understand if this person is intoxicated. It’s not going to give us the level but that they are impaired and we need to do further test,” said Sgt. Page.

What about refusing to take the Standard Field Sobriety tests?

“You can refuse the tests however you can get charged for refusal when you sign for your drivers license you’re promising you will do those,” said Sgt. Page.

Say bye to your license when arrested for drunk driving. You’ll immediately get an Administrative License  Suspension Slip instead. 

“You want to start off 2019 safe. You don’t want to spend money on expensive car repairs, jail time, missing work because of court. All of these things are going to add up and be in the thousands of dollars,” said Sgt. Page.

And the biggest price of all, the loss of life — yours or someone’s loved one. 

Police recommend deciding who your designated driver will be before you leave your home. Being prepared can save lives out on the road.