There is certainly reason for celebration this week as we say goodbye to 2013 and usher in the New Year.
And while the occasion brings with it parties and other special events, safety should always be a concern, first and foremost.
Traditions, such as toasting in the New Year and fireworks, go hand-in-hand with the annual turn of the calendar. But there is no excuse for carelessness and certainly no excuse for driving while impaired.
This New Year’s Eve, as in years past, the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department will hold its ‘Safe Ride’ campaign to assist partygoers in Wilson County who plan on drinking while ringing in the New Year.
Sheriff Robert Bryan said this is a project the department has done over the past decade and is one that has had a positive impact.
“It has seen a lot of success as far as deteriorating drinking and driving,” Bryan said.
Beginning Tuesday night at 8 p.m., those looking for a sober ride home can call 615-444-1412 and ask for a safe ride from any party in Wilson County. Rides are free and will last until 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
Bryan said Wilson County would also be partnering with surrounding counties, like Davidson, to help get Wilson County residents home safely. As an example, someone at a party in Nashville can call the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department and ask for its Safe Ride program. Davidson County will take that person to the Wilson County line and Wilson County officers will take the person the rest of the way home.
One in three or 36 percent of consumers always use a designated driver after drinking, yet one in five reported rarely or never using one, according to a recent AAA survey.
To help ensure everyone has a safe ride home, AAA and Bud Light will offer the Tow to Go program for New Year’s Eve in Wilson County.
The program is designed to help discourage an intoxicated driver from getting behind the wheel. Anyone, AAA member or not, can call for a Tow to Go ride through Jan. 1. For To to Go services, call 855-286-9246.
For those who plan on ringing in the New Year with fireworks, Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen advised care and respect.
“Obviously we want everyone to be safe and smart, so the big thing is to be careful and mindful of children and to be respectful of your neighbors,” Bowen said. “We ask that people not shoot fireworks off too late, but that’s kind of tough with New Year’s Eve. Just please be respectful of others and don’t shoot off any fireworks at anyone or at others’ dwellings.”
Have a happy New Year, but please make sure those plans include safety. Otherwise, there’s just no excuse.