A dozen football teams took the field Saturday hoping to take home a trophy, but every one of the players took home the message that it is always better to call a designated driver instead of getting behind the wheel after drinking.
“The second you get behind the wheel we have some very trained officers that their sole purpose is to go out and identify that drunk driver before they crash, killing themselves or someone else,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Kevin Honea.
It was all part of the Pull the Flag on Drunk Driving Flag Football Tournament that kicks off local law enforcement’s holiday DUI crackdown efforts.
During the event organizers took time to recognize the NHP and Las Vegas police officers who have made the most DUI arrests this year.
“It is very exciting to know that we’ve potentially saved that many lives,” NHP officer Ashlee Willman said.
Many people may think officers aren’t on the lookout for DUIs during the day, but they say with the 24/7 lifestyle here in the Valley they are always on the lookout.
“I can tell you we see every bit as many drunk drivers on the road Saturday or Sunday morning at six in the morning as we do Saturday or Sunday night at ten,” Honea said.
NHP officers said the number of drunk drivers has actually leveled off over the past few years, but says they are seeing a rise in the number of arrests for people who are driving while under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs.
“Where we have had the biggest impact is training our officers to identify prescription meds, that is where we are going to have the biggest impact in the next few years,” Honea said.
In addition to the prescription drugs, officers say they are constantly working to identify the effects of illegal drugs, especially with the rising use of new synthetic drugs.