New Year's Eve Busy Night for Police, Taxis
William McMillan knows he’ll have a busy weekend.
The owner of Safe Way Transport Service says New Year’s Eve is typically one of the busiest nights of the year for his company.
“We are slammed,” McMillan said of a typical New Year’s Eve. “Usually I have three (phone) lines ringing constantly throughout the night. It can be chaotic and very stressful.”
It will also be a busy night for local law-enforcement officers, who are tasked with the job of keeping the roads safe for all residents.
“It is our busiest night,” Aberdeen Police Chief Mike Conner said. “And when New Year’s Eve falls on a weekend, it is an even bigger night.”
Sgt. Roger Williams, of the State Highway Patrol, said activity on New Year’s Eve often comes in spurts and is inconsistent from year to year. He said it is unusual to see a spike in wrecks on New Year’s Eve or early on New Year’s Day.
That could be attributable to the higher number of officers on the roads, which Williams said can help keep bad things from happening.
“We will have every available person working that night,” Williams said. “We want everybody to make it into the new year.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, almost 30 people die every day in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver.
In 2009, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32 percent) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
In North Carolina, 388 driving while impaired-related fatalities occurred in 2010, according to statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Twenty-nine percent of all driving deaths in the state that year were alcohol-related. In North Carolina, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 is considered impaired.
Local restaurants and bars also expect to be crowded this weekend.
And for those customers who have one too many drinks, or don’t have a designated driver, most local restaurants will gladly call a cab for their customers to make sure they get home safely.
Law-enforcement officials say there is a simple solution to having a good time on New Year’s Eve — don’t drive if you drink.
“Issuing a DUI is a long process,” said Capt. Floyd Thomas, of the Pinehurst Police Department. “We will do it if we have to, but it is easier on everybody if people have a designated driver or take a cab.”
There are nine transportation companies listed in the Moore County Telephone Directory, and a simple online search for “Moore County NC taxicabs” yields numerous choices.
“The are plenty of cabs in the area,” Thomas said, “so there is really no excuse (to not have a designated driver.)”
McMillan said the best advice to ensure people get a taxi with minimal wait is to call for the service about 15 minutes before they are ready to leave. Some companies will take advance reservations, but McMillan said he rarely does.
“We take very few advanced bookings, because I don’t want to be in a position where we have promised somebody and then we get slammed with calls and can’t deliver,” McMillan said.
Many of the local taxi companies will have extra vehicles on the road to accommodate a higher volume of passengers this weekend.
“On a ‘dead weekend’ we usually get 20 to 25 calls,” said John Hasty, owner of A Pinehurst Taxi Co. “This weekend, I am expecting to get at least 100.”
To meet that need, Hasty said he will have all six of his cabs in service and will also have three others on standby from local car rental companies.
“I expect that we are going to be really busy between 11:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.,” Hasty said.
In addition to the extra vehicles on the road, most taxis will carry extra equipment for those passengers with queasy, unsettled stomachs.
“We’ll have a small bucket or plastic bags inside,” Hasty said.
“One thing you don’t want them to do is throw up in the van,” Hasty said. “That smell is horrible.”
New Year’s Day can also be a busy day for the cab companies, Hasty said.
“We get a lot of calls between 8 and 9 in the morning from people to take them to their cars,” he said, “if they can remember where they parked.”
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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