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Packers game-day drunken driving arrests rise

  • Associated Press
  • December 22, 2013 - 3:40 PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Drunken driving arrests on Packers game days rose last year in Green Bay despite police efforts to reduce the number of drivers operating motor vehicles while intoxicated.

Green Bay police made 36 drunken driving arrests on the 10 Packers home game days in the 2012 season. That's more than police made in either of the previous two seasons, Press-Gazette Media reported Sunday (http://gbpg.net/1icl5lo ).

The newspaper's review found 30 arrests in the 2011 season, when Lambeau Field hosted 11 games. Police made 31 such arrests in the 2010 season. The figures don't include arrests made by other law enforcement agencies or arrests made in 2013.

The increase happened despite growing efforts in Green Bay to keep people from driving drunk on game days, including an aggressive regional anti-drunk driving message to the free Green Bay Metro Transit bus service on game days.

"I'd think that the numbers are a reflection of more awareness, of assigning officers to look for OWIs during game days," police spokesman Chad Ramos said.

Statewide, the average number of drunken driving arrests on Packers home game days increased slightly from 127 in the 2011 season to 131 last season.

The NFL and the Packers try to discourage fans from driving if they've had too much to drink. Fans in NFL stadiums see and hear "know when to say when" reminders. Lambeau spectators are not allowed to buy more than two beers at a time and the Packers cut off beer sales at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Ridership on buses serving Lambeau on game days increased 20 percent from 2011 to 2012, and rose again this year to about 3,000 round-trip riders each game, said Tom Wittig, director of the Green Bay Metro transit system.

But Mike Panosh, regional director for the state Bureau of Transportation Safety, said there likely is no simple solution when large numbers of people attend events where alcohol is served before, during and afterward.

"Drunk driving is a multi-faceted problem. We have drunk drivers at 8 in the morning," he said.

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