No, that's not Rudolph with his shiny nose. That's a DUI traffic stop.

Missoula Police, along with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol have already begun placing extra patrols throughout western Montana to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Police Sergeant Greg Amundsen wants to emphasize the message that ‘buzzed driving is drunk driving’, so plan ahead.

“Just about everybody knows when you go to a holiday party that there will be adult beverages served, so just try to plan ahead, get a ride home, and stay safe,” Amundsen said. “It would be a bad way to finish your year, and it is a lot easier during the holidays to have a few more drinks than usual before you head home. It’s supposed to be a joyous time of year, not a time when you want to ruin something.”

Amundsen lays out what happens in this era of ‘no tolerance for drunk driving.’

“You’re going to be arrested for DUI, you’re going to spend at least a little while in jail,” he said. “Even if you do get released to a sober party, you’re going to be there for awhile. Then come the court dates, and that’s when it’s going to get expensive, with fines and lawyers, and it also affects your insurance if you’re convicted. Then, if you have a commercial driver’s license, you stand a good chance of losing your job if convicted, as well.”

The average cost of a DUI conviction ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, so law enforcement officials urge everyone to plan ahead, with a designated driver, a taxi or a rider service this holiday season.

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