Bars Work To Keep Partiers Safe on New Year's Eve

Created: 12/31/2013 10:37 PM KAALtv.com
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Over the last five years in Minnesota, five people have died and more than 200 have been injured in drunk driving crashes on New Year's Eve night.

And with many people heading out to ring in the new year, local bars and restaurants took extra steps to make sure everyone got home safely.

“We always have cabs on the south side of our building,” said Micheal Vogel, entertainment director at Dooley’s Pub in downtown Rochester. “There's probably going to be extra tonight because of the evening.”

At Torge's Live in Austin, workers coordinated with local cab companies to try and make it as easy as possible for patrons to find a safe ride home.

"When people need to do work to call somebody, they might take the easy way out,” said manager Tim Mattern. “So us being proactive, having cabs out here ready for them, might change their mind and hopefully we'll get everyone home safely."

While some look to avoid the roads altogether, officials said with the cold temperatures, walking home could be just as dangerous.

"We do have people that sometimes get lost, that sometimes get inebriated to the point where they're not able to take care of themselves,” said Cpt. Dave McKichan of the Austin Police Department. “And at minus eight, not even factoring in the wind chill, you can succumb to both death and frostbite very, very quickly.”

But however they get home, officials said they just want them to get there safely.

"It's New Year's, people are going to be going out, they're going to be celebrating,” Mattern said. “And we want that, we want them to come out and have a good time, but do it safely."

On New Year's Eve night, more than 2,300 Minnesotans have been arrested for DWI over the past five years.