GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) The night before Thanksgiving is considered one of the most popular bar nights of the year.
Law enforcement is well aware of it and has OWI Task Forces out looking for drunk drivers.
"In the past few years, the business has changed dramatically, and people are more cognoscente of drinking and driving," says bar owner Joe Zehren.
The Bar on Holmgren Way has a steady stream of customers the night before Thanksgiving, it's one of many places the OWI Task Force will keep an eye on this holiday weekend.
"Throughout the weekend we will have additional targeted patrols on both speed enforcement because of increased traffic and seatbelts, that'll go on now throughout the weekend," says Capt. Randy Schultz.
The task force is a squad of 12-16 patrol cars from varying agencies across Brown County specializing in drunk driving enforcement. Captain Schultz says the task force is ratcheting up for the holidays starting Wednesday night.
After two years running, Schultz says they have experienced growing pains but are getting better at their job every year.
"We were actually tripping over each other a couple of times in the smaller communities," recalls Schultz.
The task force has impacted how Zehren does business. In recent years, with support from a few other bars in the area, he has set up transportation for patrons, if they need it.
"We each have a shuttle that will come and pick you up, so you can come out and enjoy your beverages at our locations, and then we will turn around and bring you home," says Zehren.
Shultz admits, it'll take a culture change to stop people in Wisconsin from drinking and driving, and their job isn't done yet.
"Can we rest our hat on the reduction in the critical injury crashes and fatals caused by OWI, I don't believe so. I think it's far too early," he says.