BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - It's the Wednesday in November most know as "Thanksgiving Eve." But for Brad Tongen and his friends at Lucky's Bar in Bloomington, Wednesday night has a different name.
"It's the biggest party night of the year!" Tongen said.
Big at the bars, and big behind the wheel, a night the State Patrol says is right behind New Years Eve and St. Patrick's Day for drinkers on the road.
"It kind of kicks off the holiday party season," said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.
That's why you'll see signs warning that while there are more drunk drivers, there are also more authorities out to catch them. The State Patrol says it's not sure if the signs make drivers more cautious, but says it does make them think, saying Facebook and Twitter are full of posts and tweets from those who saw the signs.
"If that changes people behavior or makes someone make arrangements ahead of time, then we've accomplished our goal," Roeske said.
It's also the goal of Brian Peters, who picks drinkers up before police do. He and 30 other drivers give rides to those who can't drive themselves, working for a company that brings you home, and your car as well. Most weeknights they'll have 20 customers. The night before Thanksgiving, they'll top a 100, some from clients who've already had a DUI.
"It's a big night for us," Peters said. "That's the biggest way people learn is seeing the effect (a DUI) has on your life."
Brad Tongen doesn't plan to find out, with a cab already booked to take him home. And the cost? Less than tomorrow's turkey.
"(It's) 25 dollars for a ride home versus the cost of a DUI," Tongen said. "(Is it worth it?) For sure."
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