Law enforcement prepares for "Blackout Wednesday"

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - While Thanksgiving Eve is one of the busiest travel days of the year, it's also become one of the biggest drinking days, keeping law enforcement on their toes.

Local law enforcement are preparing for "Blackout Wednesday," or Thanksgiving Eve, by having more police on the roads to look out for impaired drivers. (Source: KSNB)

Many know the day before Thanksgiving as "Blackout Wednesday," which is exactly how it sounds. It rivals even the traditional drinking holidays, like St. Patrick's Day and New Years Eve, as the biggest drinking day of the year.

People at the Grand Island Police Department said it's a big bar night here as well, and also their biggest night for DUI arrests.

"We understand that you're coming back to see family friends that you haven't seen in awhile, but there are lots of responsible ways to do that that do not involve drinking to the point of causing medical issues. That's really what a blackout is," said Capt. Jim Duering, Grand Island Police Department.

Several agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and MADD, have taken to social media to boycott "Blackout Wednesday" in an effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths and accidents.

According to the NHTSA, there have been more alcohol-related driving deaths on Thanksgiving than New Year's Eve four of the past five years.

From 2013 to 2017, they reported more than 800 people died in DUI crashes during Thanksgiving weekend.

Both GIPD and the Nebraska State Patrol will have increased patrol this weekend to get impaired drivers off the road.

"Make sure you know of someone or have a designated driver, someone that's going to be sober, someone that's going to take responsibility of that vehicle to get you home safe to your loved ones for Thanksgiving," said Lt. Dean Riedel, Nebraska State Patrol.

Police also said to make a plan, and limit your alcohol consumption."

"You're much more likely to be not thankful if you wake up the next morning in jail," Duering said.