The night before Thanksgiving has earned the name "Blackout Wednesday," a night when lots of people go out bars to celebrate and often imbibe too much. Law enforcement has a message for those who tip a few too many back and think it's okay to drive.
Don't do it. Call a friend to drive you home, take a cab or an Uber.
With the night before Thanksgiving being a popular party night, it has etched its way onto a infamous list of nights that see the highest number of drunk driving fatalities. The periods around Thanksgiving and Christmas rank right up there with New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day as some of the most dangerous nights to be out on the road.
Starting on Thanksgiving Eve and continuing through the weekend, police from 300 agencies across the state will participate in a campaign to keep drunk drivers off the streets. The initiative also will take place on weekends through December 30, according to the Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety.
In Ramsey County, more than 25 officers working overtime will be on patrol watching for drunk drivers Wednesday. Their efforts will be focused on busy streets such as White Bear Avenue, Rice Street and Hwy. 36.
Last year on Thanksgiving Eve, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office and nine participating police departments pulled over 340 drivers. Of those, eight resulted in DWI arrests. In 2014 that number was 18 DWI arrests.
While the overall number of drunk drivers has decreased over the past five years, "there are still way too many people driving impaired," said Sgt. Kevin Otto of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.
From 2011 to 2015, 13 of the 48 people killed in crashes during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holiday periods died from drunk driving-related incidents. Christmas has the second highest percentage of drunk driving-related fatalities (35.3 percent) during a major holiday period, followed by Thanksgiving (33.3 percent), according to the Department of Public Safety.