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Law enforcement educating public on impaired driving during Thanksgiving weekend

Officials are partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to encourage positive actions to reduce danger on roadways

Posted: Nov. 21, 2018 8:26 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - If you're planning to celebrate with alcohol this Thanksgiving weekend, law enforcement is reminding you to be responsible.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and its partners are wanting to raise awareness and educate the public on the dangers of driving while impaired. They're launching a nationwide social media blitz featuring the hashtags "#BoycottBlackoutWednesday" and "#DitchDanksgiving". The NHTSA says that excessive alcohol and drug intoxication are increasingly rampant during the Thanksgiving weekend due to events like "Blackout Wednesday" and "Danksgiving" that highlight and even encourage the heavy consumption of alcohol and marijuana.

Dan Burke with Burke's Bar & Grill in Mason City says that the day before Thanksgiving has usually been a big bar day, but he notes that it's changed recently, saying that with stores encroaching on Thanksgiving more, people aren't going out as much.

"The police tend to be out a little bit more that night too, because the police know that as well, so I think more people stay home."

He's doing his part to ensure those drinking stay safe.

"We're required to cut you off...if you appear intoxicated or too intoxicated. If you walk in that way, or if you've been in the establishment for awhile, we may have to say 'ok, you've had enough.'"

Both Iowa and Minnesota have "Dram shop" laws that protect the public from harm or loss due to over service of intoxicated patrons on a licensed premises, with a part of the law requiring bartenders to cut off any patron who is showing signs of intoxication.

From 2013 to 2017, the NHTSA says more than 800 people died in alcohol impaired driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, making it the deadliest holiday on roadways nationwide.

Burke encourages those who are partaking in Thanksgiving festivities that involve alcohol to call for a cab or designate a driver.

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