Police Urge Safe Driving on Cinco De Mayo


HAGERSTOWN, Md.It’s a day to celebrate Mexican culture and cuisine, and in Hagerstown, many restaurants and bars have spent days preparing for Cinco De Mayo.

"It’s going to be really busy, we're going to have more people drinking than usual I think, especially with our drink specials,” said Jennifer Contreras, manager at Hagerstown Mexican restaurant La Tolteca.

Drink specials might sound tempting, but law enforcement authorities are warning people to stay away from alcohol if they plan on driving.

"Always have a designated driver,” said DFC. Alan Matheny of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. “If you feel like you're intoxicated [while driving], you're probably well on your way to going to jail."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people killed in drunk driving accidents on May 5th more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says they made 246 DUI arrests last year, many of them falling on holidays like Cinco De Mayo.

"Any opportunity we get that we feel like the public is going to be out celebrating an event, we do step up our patrols and are looking aggressively for drunk drivers,” said Matheny.

But it is not just officers who are on the lookout for drivers under the influence. Restaurants like La Tolteca say they do everything they can to make sure their customers are safe, especially on holidays.

"We try to limit drinks,” said Contretas. “We try to see how they're drinking, how they're taking their alcohol, we call taxi cabs for people who seem like they've had a little too much to drink, we double check IDs all the time."

The Sheriff's Office also wants to remind people that drinking coffee or taking a cold shower cannot sober you up. They say the only thing that works is time and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.

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