To enhance public safety and deter impaired driving, state and local law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours during the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that begins Friday (August 21) and continues through Labor Day (September 7, 2020).

“The primary goal of this federal, state and local initiative is to enhance public safety and prevent needless tragedies by encouraging drivers to be safe and responsible,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said.

Last year in Wisconsin, there were 6,058 alcohol-related crashes that injured 2,918 people and resulted in 140 deaths (about one-quarter of all traffic-related deaths). Also, in 2019, there were 23,803 OWI convictions.

While alcohol-impaired driving remains a significant concern, Wisconsin and many other states see a growing challenge with drug-impaired drivers - people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by illegal drugs, prescription or over-the-counter medications. To deter impaired driving, Wisconsin currently has:

  • 5,223 law enforcement officers trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement. ARIDE training helps officers detect potentially impaired drivers and prevent serious crashes.
  • 310 highly-trained Drug Recognition Experts - among the most in the nation.
  • 23 multi-jurisdictional, high-visibility OWI enforcement task forces that operate year-round across the state.

How citizens can help:

  • If you plan to celebrate, identify a sober designated driver. Never allow someone else to get behind the wheel impaired.
  • If you suspect a driver is impaired, safely call 911. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible about the driver, vehicle and location.
  • Download the free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website. Among its functions, the app includes a “find a ride” feature to help locate transportation alternatives. Since its launch on Labor Day of 2013, about 75,000 people have accessed the app.
  • Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons with a safe ride home.

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