(December 31, 2018)-  The New Year is fast approaching along with some events and parties scheduled to help celebrate. The Cape Coral Police Department would like everyone to be safe this holiday and we have some tips to help make sure your celebration isn’t ruined.

DON’T Drive Impaired!

Plan ahead. Be honest with yourself: You know whether you’ll attend a party. If you plan to drink, plan for a sober driver to take you home. Is it your turn to be the designated driver? Take that role seriously—your friends are relying on you. Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.

If you are going out and decide to drink alcoholic beverages please make sure that you plan on alternate transportation. Ideas for alternate transportation are having a sober designated driver setup beforehand, use Uber, Lyft, or a taxi; just don’t drive impaired! You can also checkout the Saferride app which allows users to identify their location and call a taxi or friend to pick them up.

If you see a suspected impaired driver on the road, contact 9-1-1. Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

The Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation and Budweiser provide the Tow to Go program to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel and risking the lives of other motorists. Tow to Go also enables AAA and Budweiser to remind the public to always plan ahead when celebrating with alcohol.

  • Free confidential ride available to AAA Members and non-members

  • The AAA tow truck transports the vehicle and driver home or somewhere safe within 10 miles

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If you decide to take the chance, we’ll make sure you get a ride but you probably won’t like the destination of the cold gray bar motel.

Fireworks

Only sparklers, fountains, glow worms, and snakes are legal. Any firework that explodes or leaves the ground is ILLEGAL. This includes, but is not limited to: firecrackers, M-80s, bottle rockets, roman candles, mortars, etc.   

We respond to HUNDREDS of fireworks complaints around New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July. We expect this New Years Eve to be no different and will probably create an even higher call volume due to the holiday being over a long weekend.

What about enforcement? Our officers COULD issue citations and/or make arrests the first time they see a violation. The noise ordinance ticket will run you about $100 and the misdemeanor fireworks charge can run up to $1,000 with a year in jail! Let's be real. Nobody wants us out there rounding up people for shooting off a bottle rocket.  Also, since it is a misdemeanor, the officer must witness the violation occurring in order to make an arrest or issue a citation.  A lot of times, we arrive after the fireworks have gone off, or between volleys. Fortunately, our officers have the discretion to issue warnings and educate people as an alternative to citations or arrests. That is usually enough to get compliance and handle the complaint. If not, then we have the other tools at our disposal.  

The fact of the matter is, there are way more people buying and shooting off fireworks than there are officers on the street.  We get to the calls one at a time as fast as we can.  If you've been setting off prohibited fireworks in the past and never got the police called on you, it wasn't because it was legal before.  It was simply because you got lucky.  

Safety is also a major concern with setting off fireworks. In 2016, there were 11,000 injuries and 4 deaths in the United States associated with fireworks incidents. 

Shooting a Gun in the Air

JUST DON’T DO IT! It’s a crime to fire a weapon in the air and can turn deadly. Bullets can return to the ground at speeds greater than 200 feet per second and yes, it can kill.

So, alcohol mixed with poorly thought out decisions can cost a life and/or you going to jail. Don’t drive impaired, make good decisions, drink responsibly, and don’t shoot off guns in the air!

We hope everyone has a great and safe New Years celebration and here’s to a wonderful 2019.

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CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341