Kicking Off 2008 on a Safe Note

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Bryan Police Officer Robyn Lewis says New Year's Eve is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road.

One of the main reasons, Lewis says, is people who celebrate by drinking then deciding to get behind the wheel. So, officers will start the year by cracking down on drinking and driving.

"Law enforcement agencies aside from Bryan Police Department will be out in full force," Lewis said.

If your New Year's Eve plans include alcohol, Lewis says now is the time to find a designated driver.

Another way to celebrate New Year's Eve is shooting fireworks. In anticipation of 2008, Mr. W. Fireworks stand operator, Lisa Locke, says people have been buying fireworks.

"The first day we opened on the 26, we started getting business," Locke said.

Locke says with each sale comes a friendly reminder.

"They can only set them off in the rural areas, not in the city limits," Locke said.

Every year people are hurt and property is damaged by firecrackers, says Lewis.

"The fire and injury potential is huge and that's why the city takes it very seriously," Lewis said.

If you are cited by police, you could face fines up to $520.

Since setting off fireworks can be tricky and dangerous, Locke has informed her customers some fireworks are only for bigger kids or adults.

Some parents let their smaller kids handle sparkers to include them in the celebration. However, Lewis says the popular item has the potential to cause an injury.

"Sparklers are actually among the most dangerous for children," Lewis said.

Locke agrees, and offered some sound advice.

"Watch them. Don't leave them unattended," Locke said.

Come midnight on Tuesday, fireworks may not be the only thing people are shooting off. Officer Lewis is also concerned about celebratory gunfire.

"What comes up must come down and you never know where those bullets are going to come down," Lewis said.

A fine could range up to $420, and Lewis says if someone is hurt, charges could be added. Lewis says everyone should enjoy the start of the new year, but says it should be a safe start.

To report fireworks going off inside the Bryan city limits, call the non-emergency dispatch line at (979) 361-3888.