Beer is an Oktoberfest staple, particularly in a region like the Pacific Northwest, where we take our craft brews seriously. Unfortunately, that also makes it potentially dangerous for motorists who don't designate a sober driver. The Washington State Patrol is warning visitors this week that they're preparing for Leavenworth's traditional celebration with increase police presence and even an RV that's specially designed to cut down on drunk driving.
"Our goal this year is to prevent serious injury or fatal collisions from occurring during the three weekend event in Leavenworth," said Trooper Darren Wright in a press release, adding that "additional officers out during the three weekends of Oktoberfest along with the Mobile Impaired Driving Unit (MIDU)."
Outfitted to help officers test and process drivers suspected of being under the influence, the MIDU is a 36-foot motor home that is "equipped with three breath test instruments and two holding cells." The MIDU travels across Washington State to be present at events or occasions where a high volume of impaired drivers may be on the roadway.
WSP advises that Oktoberfest visitors who may be drinking should consider taking a cab or one of the shuttles which serve the festival. They're also requesting that sober motorists pitch in by dialing 911 if they see a driver they believe may be a danger to others.
Last year, according to the festival, an average of 10,000 people attended per weekend in 2012.
Oktoberfest, which kicked off last weekend, continues on October 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th.