Beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, the Wilson County Sheriff's Office will again sponsor its annual New Year's Eve Safe Ride program to help save lives at no cost to the county, according to Sheriff Robert Bryan.
Through 3 a.m. tomorrow morning, an individual may call 444-1412 and ask for a safe ride to obtain a free ride home from any part of Wilson County.
"This does not include a ride to another party or any stops on the way home," Bryan added. "We just want to make sure all our citizens are safe on the roads."
Maj. Gary Keith launched the Safe Ride program several years ago and, since that time, the sheriff's office has seen a decline in accidents with injuries, deaths and arrests associated with drinking and driving. Keith noted the program is run at no cost to the county, adding, "These are all volunteer officers participating in this program."
"We encourage everyone in Wilson County to enjoy themselves as we ring in the New Year," Bryan said.
"But this is one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to drinking and driving. It is not safe for you or anyone on the streets if you decide to drive after drinking alcohol, even a small amount. All it takes is a single phone call to get a free ride home."
Sheriff's officers and volunteers plan to post information throughout the county to make certain people know the Safe ride program is available.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 16 fatal crashes resulting in 16 deaths - yielding a fatality rate of one death every 6 hours - in Tennessee over the New Year's holiday last year, including one fatal alcohol-related accident in Wilson County on New Year's Eve.