HOWARD — New Year's Eve is a night of celebration, and one of drinking, for many. As a result, local police are reinforcing the seriousness of drunken driving.
"Historically, we've had the excuse "I didn't want to inconvenience anyone,"' Jody Lemmens, Brown County Sheriff's Office Captain of Professional Standards, said. "Inconveniencing a loved one with a phone call is far better than us having to knock on someone's door and give terrible news."
Lemmens said they see a spike in drunken driving around the holidays. As a result, the amount of OWI patrol will be significantly increased this weekend, with the goal of keeping the roads as safe as possible.
She said some ways to keep the roads safe are to use services, like Uber or Lyft, or to have a designated driver lined up ahead of time.
Sheila Derpinghaus is the owner of Just One More Bar and Grill in Howard. She said she's noticed throughout the years that more and more people are staying in on New Year's Eve and having house parties.
Her bar will be closed on Saturday, however, she still encourages safe driving all year round.
"With being a Tavern League member, we have the Saferide program," Derpinghaus said. "Please use it. It's free to you. They'll take you home. You don't have to drive."
Derpinghaus said many other bars in the area are Tavern League members too, and all you have to do is ask when you're out, and they'll help you get a ride.
"Be safe. Do the right thing," Derpinghaus said.
"We want everybody to enjoy a happy and healthy New Year," Lemmens emphasized. "If you spend a few minutes making those decisions ahead of time and making plans to make sure you're safe, you can ensure that you'll start the New Year off on the right foot."
To locate your nearest ride provider with The Tavern League of Wisconsin's SafeRide program, click here. To download the mobile app, click here.
AAA is also offering their Tow to go program as a last resort. It is a free service for AAA members and non-members, and more information can be found here.
Additionally, Neenah Police tweeted that they will be offering free rides in the City of Neenah on New Year's Eve.
Fox Valley Cab will also be offering free rides for Appleton residents.