By Bernie Tafoya

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s that time of year, when more people are celebrating the season with family, friends, and co-workers; and police are reminding you to play it safe.

Palos Park Police Chief Joe Miller said the key to safe partying is to plan ahead. Figure out ahead of time how you’re going to get home; whether it’s by cab, designated driver, or some other way.

Miller said people are getting the message about drunk driving, and police are seeing fewer impaired drivers, although many people still risk injuring or killing themselves or others.

“‘I’m just on my way home’ is a common response we hear from people. ‘I’m close to my house.’ ‘I didn’t think it would have this effect on me, or impair my driving,’’ Miller said.

The chief said drunken driving can be costly, either with your life, someone else’s, or – in the very least – thousands of dollars in legal fees. He also said people who see drivers who appear impaired are not holding back; they’re calling 911.

“We get a significant amount on LaGrange Road. We get a good number on Route 83, where people who observe what they think is an impaired driver, and contact our dispatch center to have an officer check on it,” Miller said.

Once again, his department was offering free rides home on New Year’s Eve, if revelers have had too much to drink.

Watch & Listen LIVE