As throngs of patrons descend upon downtown Plymouth tonight for what is traditionally the biggest drinking night of the year, local police are looking to ensure the roads stay free of drunken drivers.
"The day before Thanksgiving is considered the biggest drinking day of the year, so we do step up patrols," Plymouth Director of Public Safety Al Cox said.
Cox said the department is bringing in an extra officer focused on stopping drunken drivers.
"We bring a guy in who is going to be focused 100 percent solely on alcohol enforcement, enforcing drunk driving as well as being out on foot walking through the establishments doing (liquor license compliance) checks," Cox said.
Cox said the purpose of the operation isn't to hamper local business — he said many patrons plan for their Thanksgiving Eve festivities much as they would for New Year's Eve festivities, arranging beforehand for a designated driver or cab service.
"We certainly don’t want people to not come down and have a good time," Cox said. "They need to do it appropriately and follow the rules and be safe."
Cox said the he takes enforcing drunken driving—a charge that carries hefty legal fines and poses a public safety risk—seriously.
"If you drink and drive, I will make no apologies to anyone when we arrest you," he said.
Options available to avoid drunken driving
Cox said in addition to increased police patrols on city streets, local cab services also will have an increased presence to help provide a safe trip home for bar patrons.
Many local bars, Cox said, arrange with cab services to have cars available within the city limits.
"The cab companies know that Plymouth is going to be active that night," Cox said.
Plymouth-area bars, Cox said, also often keep a list of local cab services and are willing to call a cab for patrons.
Ensuring a safe ride home for patrons is in local businesses' best interests, Cox said.
No bar owner wants to be the establishment that over-served someone who causes a drunken-driving accident, Cox said, and be subjected to subsequent lawsuits.
Patrons also can locate local cab services with the Plymouth Downtown Development Authority's smartphone app, which provides a list of local providers.