Police urge safe, sober driving during New Year’s Eve celebrations

LPD say if arrested for a DUI it’s a misdemeanor.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The dance floor is ready and so is the band for the 300-plus people who will boogie into a new year at the Academy Center of the Arts.

“We’ve got some items here where people can wear hats and different props to take photos with. There will be an open bar as well,” Tremayne Edwards, director of community engagement, said.

Once the clock strikes 12, it's a given Lynchburg police officers will have a busy night.

“Between a dozen shots fired calls and very soon after we’re going to get DUI calls or potential drunk driving calls,” Sgt. Adam Johnson said.

Johnson has worked the New Year’s Eve night shift before and said the department is aware of some of the private and public parties in town.

“Our message to the public and the thing we want the community to look out for themselves and look out for each other,” Johnson said.

And looking out for one another is what Edwards and other staff members with the academy are prepared to do Tuesday night at their New Year’s Eve Bash.

“They are constantly checking with our patrons to make sure that they are good. And if not, they are making sure that we get them a ride or that we call someone to pick them up,” Edwards said.

Around this time last year, LPD arrested four people for public intoxication and only arrested one person for a DUI.

“We’re going to be watching for cars swerving on the road, we’re going to be watching for people driving below the posted speed limit. Disregarding stop signs, traffic lights anything like that,” Johnson said.

Officers say with ride-sharing apps easily available and Beeline Towing offering free rides home, there’s no excuse to not have a designated driver. Johnson said don’t be afraid to call a friend.

“A lot of times the people that get hurt are not the people driving drunk it’s (the) innocent people who just happen to be on the road at the same time,” Johnson said.

LPD says if arrested for a DUI it’s a misdemeanor.