As thousands of corks are prepped for popping, law enforcement authorities are planning for one of the busiest times of the year for drinking and driving.
Expecting a large turnout for the Broadway Bash downtown Friday night, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office will roll out its Sober Ride program for a 27th year. Almost 150 employees from the sheriff’s office volunteer to work the program, serving to drive, answer phones, arrange pick-ups and dispatch drivers.
This year, the program will include two new Sober Ride “bus stop” locations at the Music City Star train station on First Avenue under the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge and at Fifth Avenue and Broadway.
There will also be a Sober Ride bus stop at Second Avenue and Commerce Street. Buses will pick passengers up at these locations and transport them to LP Field where smaller vehicles will take them to their destinations.
Those who aren’t downtown and wish to use Sober Ride can call 615-862-RIDE (7433). The program serves Davidson County starting at 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve and ending at 2 a.m. New Year’s Day. Drivers will take passengers only to their home or hotel. No reservations are allowed.
Law enforcement agencies in Williamson County (including Franklin and Brentwood police and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office) are expected to team up with the Tennessee Highway Patrol for “Operation DUI Blitz,” which will run from 4 p.m. Dec. 31 through 4 a.m. Jan. 1.
While Metro police’s DUI unit will be out on the streets for its regular weekend enforcement this New Year’s holiday, a smaller grant to Metro from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office means no additional officers will be assigned to extra duty DUI enforcement.
There were no extra duty DUI officers funded by the grant on patrol during last weekend's Christmas festivities. The city's grant for the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, saw funding cut by nearly 60 percent after the GHSO was forced to redistribute funding.
Over the New Year’s holiday last year, from 6 p.m. Dec. 31, 2009, to 11:59 Jan. 3, 2010, Metro officers arrested 58 people on DUI charges.