To enhance public safety and deter impaired driving, hundreds of Wisconsin law enforcement agencies, including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake Mills Police Department, will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign continuing through Labor Day. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation utilizes federal funds to support the stepped-up law enforcement efforts, public education and outreach on the dangers of impaired driving.

“These high-visibility law enforcement efforts are intended to discourage motorists from engaging in dangerous driving behaviors that endanger everyone,” said Sheriff Paul Milbrath.

“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,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said.

Last year in Wisconsin, alcohol-related crashes resulted in 159 deaths and nearly 3,300 injuries. Also in 2018, there were 24,624 OWI convictions in Wisconsin. While alcohol-impaired driving remains a 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 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 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 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. Visit www.tlw.org/ and click on “Safe Ride.”

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