Jefferson City is gearing up for Cinco de Mayo celebrations with extra bar staff, extra cab drivers, and special police patrols.
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, one person was killed and 12 were seriously injured last Cinco de Mayo because of drunk driving.
Workers at El Jimador Mexican Restaurant say Cinco de Mayo is easily the restaurant’s busiest day of the year.
It is also the day were they sell the most alcoholic beverages.
Staff members say they make it a priority not to over-serve their drinking customers and ask if they have a designated driver.
“We try to have a designated driver for them. You know, we expect somebody to be the designated driver, and we don’t serve that much drinks to everybody,” said server Miguel Ruecho.
Customer Michelle Muenks said she appreciates the fact that the restaurant asks there to be a designated driver in every party.
“I think it’s your responsibility. If you decide to go out and have a good time, you should always protect everybody else. Alcohol does impair your driving. You should have somebody that’s sober to drive you home.,” said Muenks.
The staffers also say this is a day where they see the fake IDs come out quite a bit. They say they will be looking for signs that IDs are not real, and will be watching for anyone who could possibly buying a drink for a minor.
“Our problem is people try to buy liquor for the other people they come with because we do card everybody,” said Ruecho.
If a customer does have one drink too many, employees say they are always happy to call a cab.
The local cab company, Checker Cab, says it will step up its staff because of the holiday.
“I’ll have a couple of my drivers on. About seven drivers. That’ll be a little more than we regularly have for Cinco de Mayo,” said General Manager, Mike Olive.
Four extra drivers to be exact. The company says even with the holiday, the wait time should not be much longer than usual.
“Our average runs at about 20 minutes, but with the heavy workload, you can expect maybe a 30-minute wait,” said Olive.
And Jefferson City police say they will be out on the streets looking for drivers who skipped the cab, and decided to drive drunk anyway.
“We make sure that we do drive-throughs and watch those areas that might be more frequented,” said Capt. Doug Shoemaker.
Police also remind drivers that they can receive a free cab ride through the Fetchel Beverage sober driver program by asking their bartender for a voucher.