To discourage impaired driving and support public safety, law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign that begins Friday and continues through New Year’s Day. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is utilizing federal funds to support the stepped-up law enforcement efforts, public education and outreach.
“The goal of this federal, state and local initiative is to prevent needless tragedies along our roadways and help ensure that everyone has a safe, enjoyable holiday season,” WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross said. “We appreciate all those who will be working over the holidays to serve and protect the public. Motorists can do their part by buckling up, watching their speed and being patient and alert every trip.”
Last year in Wisconsin, alcohol-related crashes resulted in 169 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries. Also last year, there were over 24,200 OWI convictions in Wisconsin. While alcohol-impaired driving remains a concern, Wisconsin and many other states see a growing challenge with drugged drivers - people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by drugs including prescription or over-the-counter medications and illegal narcotics. To combat the problem, Wisconsin currently has:
- 25 multi-jurisdictional, high-visibility OWI enforcement task forces that operate year-round across the state.
- About 3,800 law enforcement officers trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) to help detect and remove impaired drivers from roadways.
- 292 highly-trained Drug Recognition Experts - among the most in the nation.
How citizens can help:
- If you suspect a driver of being impaired, call 911. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible about the driver, vehicle and location.
- If you plan to celebrate, identify a sober designated driver. Never allow someone else to get behind the wheel impaired.
- Download the free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website. It includes a “find a ride” feature to help locate transportation alternatives.
- Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons a safe ride home. Visit www.tlw.org/ and click on “Safe Ride.”