#SafeFiesta pushing for alternatives to drinking and driving

SAPD pushing #SafeFiesta to keep people from drinking and driving

Fiesta is just weeks away and San Antonio police are working to make sure fewer drunk drivers are on the roads this year. San Antonio has had four consecutive years of Fiesta without deadly accidents and police want that trend to continue.

This year, the San Antonio Police Officers Association wants everyone to use the hashtag #SafeFiesta to showcase safer alternatives to drinking and driving.

"If you can plan to get your outfit and folks together when you're gonna go to NIOSA or somewhere, you can certainly plan who's going to be the designated driver," said Mike Helle, president of SAPOA.

With San Antonio preparing for the biggest party of the year, police want to make sure we party responsibly and get home safely.

In 2015, police made 226 DWI arrests. In 2016, that number rose slightly to 233 arrests.

Last year, the San Antonio Police Department shared pictures on social media of people arrested for drunk driving. Officers will once again be out specifically looking for anyone suspected to be driving under the influence.

"Don't be surprised if the number goes up because we are getting more creative as to how we're going about those arrests," SAPD spokeswoman Sandra Pickell said.

That's why the SAPOA created #SafeFiesta, to help lower the number of DWI's.

"Our officers are out there too, working in the middle of the night," Helle noted. "We certainly don't want another tragedy where a DWI is crashing into a police car while he's out there on a traffic stop working an accident scene."

SAPOA shared these safe alternatives:

1. Get a designated driver for the group
2. Call a relative or friend to pick you up
3. Purchase a pass for public transportation
4. Call a cab
5. Utilize a rideshare service

If you know you're planning to party during Fiesta, save in advance if you can.

"College students might be out, people who might be on a budget," Pickell said. "Set that money aside in a safe place and that can be your transportation money."

If you're out with a group, create a “buddy system” so no friend is left behind.

If you lose someone in your group that's been drinking, keep these number handy: 210-246-1391 or 731-1300. Those will direct you to the Public Sobering Unit. If someone has a little too much to drink at Fiesta and doesn't need medical attention, but needs to sober up, police might have transported them to the unit downtown. That does not mean the individual will be arrested.

"Our goal is for everyone to have a good time, but our primary goal is for everyone to get home safe," Pickell explained.

For more information on the Public Sobering Unit, visit their official website.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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