SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and ushering in the new year with a drink is quite popular, but authorities said planning ahead and setting limits for yourself is critical to enjoying a safe New Year’s Eve.

Sergeant Tom Gill with the Sioux City Police Department (SCPD) has worked plenty of long nights on New Year’s Eve in the past. He said the holiday is always a busy time for law enforcement.

“Last year, in 2021, we had 593 people either arrested or cited for operating while intoxicated,” he said. “This year, the number is down a little bit. We’re at 507 so far for this year.”

Sgt. Gill said fewer people were caught driving under the influence in 2022 because more Siouxlanders are preparing ahead of time to have a safe holiday.

“Make sure you have a designated driver or if you’re going to go to the bars, maybe have an Uber or Lyft to take you there and pick you up, but people do a pretty good job of planning over the New Year’s Eve holiday,” he said.

Benita Triplett is the clinical director at Catholic Charities in Sioux City. She said New Year’s Eve can be a tempting time for anyone to drink too much.

“For many families, alcohol is part of celebrating,” she said. “We have the holidays. We have a lot of family gatherings. New Year’s Eve is coming up. That’s associated with a lot of drinking, and so I would say a challenge is people are more impulsively and want to drink just because it’s all around them.”  

Triplett said Siouxlanders with mental health problems should be cautious with their drinking.

“For those who have mental health, especially if you’re on medication, really understand how that might affect you,” she said. “Have alternatives available if you are going to go to parties. I’m sure they’re serving non-alcoholic beverages. Make a plan in advance to decide what you’re going to do, so you’re not acting impulsively.”

According to the SCPD, seven people in Sioux City were cited for operating a vehicle while under the influence on New Year’s Eve in 2021 compared to nine in 2020.