STAMFORD, Conn. -- Not every flashing light will be a festive one during this holiday season, a Stamford police officer said as he urged motorists not to drink and drive.
"I am here to tell you, please drink responsibly. If you don't, I promise you the red and blue lights you see behind you won't be Christmas lights, it will be my officers," Sgt. Andrew Gallagher said during a press conference Thursday to highlight the city's effort to reduce drinking and driving during the holiday season.
Gallagher was joined by Mayor David Martin; Director of Public Safety, Health & Welfare Ted Jankowski; police Capt. Tom Wuennemann and John Ruotolo, vice president of operations for the Downtown Special Services District, at the press conference.
"This time of year is one of great cheer; let's not make the mistakes that cause great sadness," Martin said. He noted that on Christmas Day 2012, there were 26 fatalities due to drinking and driving across the country.
Jankowski said that last year, there were 10,000 fatalities nationwide due to drinking and driving. During the holiday season, many people believe they can have a few drinks and drive, he said. That can be a serious mistake for many motorists, Jankowski said.
"They think they can handle it, which is why there are so many DUI cases during the holiday season," he said.
Police will begin to ramp up DUI patrols, Wuennemann said, as he urged people to make alternate driving plans when out celebrating and attending holiday events.
"Our goal is not to make arrests; our goal is to get people home safe," he said.
The DSSD has an education campaign for local club and bar owners as well as their staffs to reiterate the message to avoid serving intoxicated individuals, Ruotolo said.
"We take this very seriously, and we continue to work at it," he said.
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