JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Jefferson City Police Department will have about 12-14 more officers on duty Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving, according to Sgt. Doug Ruediger.
The night before Thanksgiving has been known to be a heavy night of drinking for many, which can become dangerous, if not done in responsible manner. The department is asking that drivers plan ahead and don't drive if you or anyone you know has been drinking.
"You know, stop someone from getting behind the wheel, save a life," Ruediger said. "You're saving that person's life, you're saving some family's life."
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said last year that on Missouri roads, eight people died, 115 were injured and 113 were arrested on suspicion of DWI during last year's Thanksgiving counting period.
In order to get a better handle on possible impaired drivers out on Wednesday, Ruediger said officers will be out on highways, in areas where crashes typically occur and near bars Downtown. Ruediger said the department works with bars ahead of the night. He also said while more officers will be walking around outside of the bars, it isn't done in an attempt to scare people who may be drinking.
"You know we're not going to stand right on top of people. We don't make people uncomfortable, but we want them to say hey we're around you know if we need to be here or if someone needs us," Ruediger said.
Ruediger says some of the signs officers will be on the lookout for include drivers following too closely, and people weaving in and out of lanes. He also said drivers driving under the speed limit is also common, and can lead to crashes in the same way speeding can.
"You know not staying in your lane, you know driving too fast, or even driving too slow," Ruediger said. ...Driving with their high beams on, you know impaired drivers will drive with their high beams on so they can see better."
Ruediger said he recommends people utilize ride services such as Uber and Lyft, and make plans ahead of time because drinking can impair your judgement. He also said you shouldn't be afraid to call 911 if you see one of your family members or friends attempting to drive after drinking. Making these choices can be the difference between life or death, according to Ruediger.
"I always say be a hero, don't be a statistic," Ruediger said.
According to the Highway Patrol, 28.6% of crashes across Missouri in 2021 involved drugs or alcohol.