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How to Stay Safe on Alaska's Roads During the Holidays

By Adam Pinsker, Multimedia Political Reporter, apinsker@ktuu.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:28:04 PM AKST

Law enforcement says be careful with having too much holiday cheer, and to be careful on the roads this holiday season. 

ANCHORAGE -

Preparation is the best way to navigate holiday celebrations, whether you are at a local bar or a family celebration.

The best way to stay safe on the road is simple, according to Alaska State Troopers Captain Barry Wilson: "Making plans beforehand and sticking to that," he said.

AST has also launched a public service campaign and is operating extra patrols on Alaska's highways leading up to New Year's Day.

Between December 13 and 22, troopers made 25 arrests for DUI, three of which were on felony charges. In addition, 30 drivers were charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license.

92 citations were issued for speeding and 20 for seat belt violations.

Besides using a designated driver, there are other safety procedures in place for people who want to celebrate the holidays out on the town.

Darwin's Theory on G Street in Anchorage is among the 45 bars that participate in the "Off the Road Program." It is sponsored by the Anchorage Cabaret Hotel Restaurant and Retailers Association. 

"It's one of those things where you don't plan on coming down and getting drunk and taking advantage of it, you just can't leave your car downtown.  You have two cabbies, one drives the car home and one drives you home," said Darwin's manager Mary Sewatzky. 

If a customer needs a ride home and does not want to leave their car downtown, they can ask the bar staff for a voucher. The vouchers are, however, limited and wait times can take a while.

"It's not the program itself that needs improvement it's responsibility of the people that do decide to indulge and drive.  I think people need to be more responsible for themselves," said Sewatzky.

AST is also asking drivers to give themselves some extra travel time this week as roads are expected to be a little more crowded than normal.