APD institutes no-refusal initiative on New Year's Eve

The cold weather didn't keep people from ringing in the new year and that kept Austin police pretty busy.

The BAT Bus was out last night to test suspected drunk drivers as part of APD's No-Refusal initiative. Anyone believed to be intoxicated was forced by court order to provide a breath or blood sample.

Last night, 26 people were arrested for DWI in Austin. APD says 12 had to give a breath test, 14 others were forced to provide a blood sample. Two people consented to the blood test.

FOX 7's Casey Claiborne spoke with two people before 2015 began who were out for New Year's Eve in Austin and had come from Sydney, Australia. Anna Lorigan and her boyfriend Andrew Gavel have been traveling the states and picked the ATX over NYC to ring in the new year.

"We hear it's a more chill vibe, like less expensive. A lot of younger people and you can get a lot further with your dollar," Lorigan said.

They said they're not driving and they have a plan to stay safe out there.

"We're hoping to stay pretty local so that it's easy to walk home. If we need to we'll get a taxi from wherever," Lorigan said.

For those out on the roads, the Austin Police Department's No-Refusal initiative was in place. The department's BAT Bus (short for Blood Alcohol Test) is brought out for these initiatives. During last year's New Year's No-Refusal the department made 24 DWI arrests.

"We want to make sure it's known loud and clear that if you're going to make the poor decision to operate a motor vehicle while you're intoxicated, we're going to be out looking for you and we're going to find you and we're going to arrest you and put you in jail," said Corporal David Boyd with APD.

As APD has reported many times, drinking and driving is a big problem in our city.

A quick recap: According to police crime statistics, during 2013, there were 72 fatal collisions that resulted in 75 deaths. 22 of those involved an alcohol impaired driver.

Let's compare that with 2012. That year saw 75 fatal collisions that resulted in 78 deaths. 22 of those as well involved a drunk driver.

In Austin so far this year, there have been 55 total fatal crashes and 62 deaths. No police information yet on how many of those were alcohol related.

APD says during No-Refusal they're hoping people will do the right thing.

"Hopefully it's a good public education message that we're getting out is that we're getting out there, we're looking for you, we're using every legal method available to us to make sure that we catch these people and prosecute them. And we're hoping people just make the good decision and find a designated driver or stay sober and don't drink at all," Boyd said.

No-Refusal started at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve and ended at 5 a.m. New Year's Day.


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