CRESTVIEW — This holiday season, lawmen plan to ensure Okaloosa County roads are safe from drivers under the influence. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Highway Patrol and Crestview police will take measures to deter DUI occurrences, officials said.
The Crestview PD typically sees an increase in DUI cases between Christmas and New Year's Eve, public information officer Lt. Andrew Schneider said, adding the department will order more street patrols for Dec. 12-31.
This may be due to increased, holiday-related traveling, officials said.
"This time of year, we typically see higher volume of traffic with people traveling for the holidays," Lt. James Harris, of the Florida Highway Patrol, said. "We plan on having patrols who are specifically tasked with apprehending drivers who are under the influence."
Highway patrollers will eye certain areas of Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Escambia counties — solely to catch drivers under the influence, a problem particularly during the winter holidays.
"Without any statistics in front of me, between Christmas and New Years is when we have seem to have an increase in DUI incidents,” Harris said.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office said increased social activities like Christmas potlucks and other celebrations can contribute to the problem.
"We typically boost DUI patrols during the holidays due to the jump in the number of parties and the associated risks," Michele Nicholson, an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said.
Still, "a large portion of the population does seem to have taken note of the "don't drink and drive" message," she said.
Despite paying increased attention to drunk driving, DUIs are a year-around concern, due to Okaloosa's active tourist season, Nicholson said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.