KINGSTON, Pa. -- The sound of the ambulance is a sound a lot of paramedics in Luzerne County get well acquainted with on New Year's Eve. But with stricter DUI laws taking effect just before the holiday, experienced ambulance drivers like David Prohaska say more people will likely be thinking twice before driving drunk.
"20 some years ago there were bad, bad car accidents. Where whole families were being injured or killed. It has gotten better, it still happens, but it's not as frequent and it's not as bad. Even with the advent of all the new safety features in cars now, it has become a lot better," said David Prohaska.
Police in Kingston say in the past 10 years, DUI arrests have gone down by 50% and they say DUI arrests continue to go down.
"Hopefully the stricter penalties get people to realize there's some jail time now for seen and hopefully the repeat offenders will decrease," said Sgt. Thomas McTague, Kingston Police Department.
The new law increases the penalties on a DUI for a repeat offender. Now there will be felony charges for the third DUI conviction with a blood-alcohol level of .16 or higher.
"It's very common, it's probably more common than the first time offender, that the person we're arresting is actually their second or their third or even their fourth," said Sgt. McTague.
Bar patrons in Luzerne County say there's really no excuse to drive drunk because there are so many other ways to get home.
"There's always another way of getting home rather than driving and I don't drive. There's always Uber, a taxi."
Bartenders at Rodano's in Wilkes-Barre say the law makes life safer for them too.
"A lot of times we have to hit the road a little earlier because we're worried about encountering these drunk drivers on the roads ourselves. It also makes our jobs easier here because stronger laws deter people from over-consumption while they're here," said Eric Yurko, bartender.
Police across our area will have more officers on duty for New Year's Eve making sure people get home safely.