OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska State Trooper Tom Hicken has spent the past 17 years like this for New Year's Eve. He's on patrol looking for the drivers who had too much to drink.
Thanks to grant money, even more troopers will scour Omaha streets tonight and overnight arresting those who put others in danger.
"Just the presence of law enforcement helps quite a bit," Hicken said.
In the past decade, drunk driving arrests and convictions have decreased over the past decade, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation. And the number of crashes involving alcohol went down this year compared to last year. Hicken has seen the difference.
"It seems like the people getting a couple beers are making the right choice getting the ride-sharing apps, but the small percentage of higher alcohol content people doing higher risk things are the trend in 2018," Hicken said.
The State Patrol has plenty of company when trying to keep the streets safe as revelers head home.
"Combined with us, Douglas County and Omaha Police, that gives us an opportunity to get the vehicle stopped," Hicken said.
A first-time offense for driving under the influence is charged as a Class W misdemeanor in Nebraska. That can carry a maximum of 60 days in prison and a $500 fine if convicted.