Law enforcement is aware that the holiday season is one of the key times of the year for drinking and driving, in Alaska and across the country. Authorities in many jurisdictions conduct awareness and education efforts during high-risk periods to encourage the public to find safer ways to get home than getting behind the wheel after having alcohol. These may include designating a sober driver, calling a taxi or Uber or celebrating at home.
The Anchorage Police Department recently concluded a creative awareness and prevention effort, which it held throughout December. Unfortunately, officers were discouraged with the results. According to KTVA News, the Anchorage Police Department decorated its Christmas tree by tying a blue ribbon to the tree for each drunk driving charge that officers issued in December. Officers sent out a challenge to residents to help keep the tree unadorned. However, the police department ran out of its blue ribbons by December 15 and had to continue decorating the tree with a plaid ribbon.
The department reported 95 DUI arrests this past December, with 36 charges occurring during the week of the 15th through the 21st. It appears that drunk driving is an ongoing issue in Anchorage during the holiday season. In December 2018, the police department reported 150 drunk driving arrests. It may be encouraging that there were fewer arrests in 2019 than the previous year, but authorities believe there is room for improvement.
Anchorage authorities hope that people will avoid drinking and driving throughout 2020 and in the years to come. Those who are facing DUI charges are entitled to a competent defense, regardless of the circumstances.