WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—With New Year’s Eve just three days away, and fatalities at or near an all-time record for Wichita Falls, law enforcement officials are pleading with the public to drive sober when out celebrating the new year. Law enforcement officials say by simply thinking ahead and putting sensible plans in place, you can start the new year safely from your home, not a jail cell or hospital bed.

“Consider the other drivers, were all a family here in Wichita Falls,” SGT Charlie Eipper said.

Wise words from Sergeant Charlie Eipper as we near the end of the year, meaning most folks will be out late celebrating this weekend.

“We want everybody to enjoy this celebration of the end of the year of 2022 and were hoping for a better 2023, we all want that, but we want it to be done safely,” SGT Charlie Eipper said.

Eipper said there have been at least 20 fatal wrecks in Wichita Falls this year alone, way above the average in the last 10 years of around 8, at least four of them involved alcohol, Eipper said there are several ways to avoid going to jail or even possibly taking a life.

“Make arrangements if you’re going somewhere and there’s going to be alcohol involved, make arrangements for a ride or use some other system out there, other companies that will pick you up and bring you home safely rather than taking the chance of getting on the road and being impaired,” SGT Charlie Eipper said.

Companies like Uber, Lyft, or even local taxi services can get you home safely, and avoid risking some major consequences.

“Could result in number one being arrested and losing your license and losing your vehicle and your ability to drive for a while, lots of money involved with fines and dues and things like that and court costs and legal fees, but really the big thing is getting involved in an accident so now your talking about destruction to your vehicle and at the worst, you kill somebody on the road,” SGT Charlie Eipper said.

Eipper said the roads pose a much greater risk to the average resident than violent crime.

“Really that’s a bigger concern than our homicide rate for me is our crash fatalities because we’re all on the roads and the homicides are typically going to be isolated events and don’t involve much of us,” SGT Charlie Eipper said.

He said if everyone does their part, together we can lower the number of fatalities in 2023.

For more information on ride-share services or taxi services, click here.