Night Before Thanksgiving Busy for Bars

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SACRAMENTO -- Wednesday night is one of the most popular nights to go out with friends and family at your local watering hole.

At Fire Stone Public House on L and 16th streets in Sacramento, business is always booming on Thanksgiving eve.

"Last year we had about 500 people come in around 11 o'clock or so," an employee at Fire Stone told FOX40.

Many people who were out said they're getting out with friends before heading home to spend time with family.

"You know a bunch of guys get together and enjoy the game for the Kings," one customer told FOX40.

After all, it's one of the few nights of the year when most everyone comes back to their hometown.

"Yeah I have a few friends coming over later, they're going to get a booth here just hang out, maybe show face at the mix," said another customer.

Others just wanting to avoid visitors.

"They could be at the bar to avoid family that's in town," said another customer.

For officers around the country, that makes Wednesday night one of the deadliest on the roads.

"We start to see an uptick in office parties and go out socializing, where the use of alcohol or impairing drugs are a little bit more common than day-to-day operations," said Sgt. Chris Prince with the Sacramento Police Department.

So Sacramento police are out showing force at a DUI checkpoint at 21st and Capitol Avenue, which actually isn't the best way to catch those who are driving impaired.

"If I take a handful of officers and go out I could get six or eight DUI arrests in a few hours where as here we might only get two or three in the course of six hours," Prince said.

But police say it's not supposed to net drunken drivers, it's really to remind everyone to have a plan this holiday season.

"You know New Year's Eve is the most planned-ahead event and there's actually less drunk drivers per vehicle out then you would on a normal big event night because people plan for it. But it's the everyday event that they don't plan for, and that's what we're hoping to change," Prince told FOX40.

Police say they are seeing more drivers abusing prescription pills, as well as marijuana. While that has been a problem in the past, technology is catching up to more easily detect those drugs when officers stop impaired drivers.