CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — Amongst the tricks and treats this Halloween weekend, some will have the urge to drink. To those who do it behind the wheel, Cedar Rapids Police warn if you’re “over the limit, you’ll be under arrest.”
"There are going to be a lot of kids running around,” said Officer Shannon Stokesberry. “We don't want anything bad to happen." According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, traffic deaths have been increasing on Halloween. Across the country, drunk driving killed 17 on the holiday in 2011– 55 in 2015. Plus, alcohol is estimated to be involved in 45% of all traffic deaths on Halloween.
In Cedar Rapids, officers average about eight OWIs between October 30 and November 1, each year. To combat those numbers, for another year, Cedar Rapids police are adding extra officers to patrol the community this weekend. They'll be making a special effort to seek out those that are intoxicated. Officers will be getting help in their effort from a monster mash, downtown. The Haunted Halloween Ball will be having it's third event, with 1,600 this year.
Curbing drinking and driving is something organizer have been doing annually.
"You get that many people in one place-- and they're going to be consuming alcohol,” said Mike Schulte, a co-founder of the event. “It was a big concern, so we took a couple steps." In years past, Schulte said they’ve offered coupons for taxi rides to get people home safe. This year, those that attend the party can get a discounted rate for a room at the Double Tree Hotel. "Fifty or 60 rooms sold this year just from our event,” said Schulte. “And, we always encourage people not to drive home."
Sound advice, but perhaps one of the best reminders, the Halloween themed comment Cedar Rapids police posted online Tuesday. Your drink “doesn't have to be a potion to be deadly.”