Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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Over the limit -- under arrest. Local law enforcement hopes drivers get the message as they step up DWI patrols between now and the New Year's Eve celebration.

'We have a four-man task force that's going to be working around the clock,' said NOPD Traffic Division Commander Lt. Anthony Micheu. 'We're also incorporating a checkpoint tonight and the whole traffic will be working during the holiday season.'

This is a busy time of the year for the NOPD.

Police commanders say officers made 92 DWI arrests in just the past two weeks.

Micheu says the crackdown is for good reason.

'Just this past year, we're up 47percent in fatality related crashes and 27 of the 53 crashes that we dealt with fatalities have resulted in alcohol and drug related toxicology.'

St. Bernard Parish is also conducting DWI checkpoints Friday nights. Sheriff Jimmie Pohlmann says it makes no sense to drink and drive when he's offering drivers a free ride home. 'You can get hurt. You can actually hurt or kill someone in a DWI accident. When you have the opportunity to get a free ride home, the choice should be that simple. Just call us up at the sheriff's office,' said Pohlmann.

Pohlmann says so far about 20 drivers have taken advantage of the free ride home program this holiday season.

'We have probably made about the same number of DWI arrests over the same period of time,' said Pohlmann. 'We had about 20 DWI arrests.'

St. Bernard will get an assist from the Louisiana State Police during Friday's DWI checkpoints.

Trooper Greg Marchand say they won't just be patrolling the highways. 'Also, back streets, back roads, country roads, gravel roads, so we'll be everywhere,' said Marchand.

Area law enforcement is using state and federal grants to pay for extra patrols now through the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.

'We want everybody to have fun, not to make this a time of year they remember because of a tragedy,' said Marchand. 'Seat belts in every position in vehicles and trucks and don't drink and drive and don't get in the car with someone who does.'

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office will be conducting a sobriety and seatbelt check point Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The JPSO says if you plan to drink any alcohol, have a plan to get home and use a designated sober driver.

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