MILWAUKEE — There will be increased patrols across Wisconsin during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that begins Friday, Aug. 16 and continues through Labor Day, Sept. 2.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation utilizes federal funds to support the stepped-up law enforcement efforts and public education and outreach on the dangers of impaired driving.
“As we approach the last major holiday of the summer season, we’re asking for the cooperation of all motorists to help us prevent needless tragedies along our roadways by being safe, alert, and responsible every time they travel,” said Craig Thompson, WisDOT secretary-designee, in a news release.
According to WisDOT, in 2018 in Wisconsin, alcohol-related crashes resulted in 159 deaths and nearly 3,300 injuries. There were 24,624 OWI convictions in Wisconsin in 2018.
While alcohol-impaired driving remains a concern, WisDOT officials said Wisconsin and many other states are seeing a growing challenge with drug-impaired drivers -- people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by illegal drugs like heroin or marijuana, prescription, or over-the-counter medications.
To combat the problem, Wisconsin currently has:
- Nearly 5,000 law enforcement officers trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) to help detect and remove impaired drivers from roadways.
- 301 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 you can help:
- If you plan to celebrate, identify a sober designated driver. Never allow someone else to get behind the wheel impaired.
- If you see a driver that you suspect is impaired, 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, more than 73,850 people have accessed the app.
- Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons a safe ride home. CLICK HERE to learn more.