Stevens Point police conduct a Jan. 2 traffic stop Church St. (Metro Wire photo)

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign kicks off Friday

Metro Wire Staff

To discourage impaired driving and enhance public safety, law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will patrol in greater numbers and for longer hours during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign that begins Friday, Dec. 13 and continues through New Year’s Day.

Local law enforcement departments are asking motorists to travel safely and responsibly this holiday season.

“Historically, the holiday season can quickly turn tragic, especially when someone makes the dangerous and irresponsible decision to drive impaired. Needless crashes devastate families and ruin holidays,” SPPD posted to its Facebook page. “During this period, officers will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours; not to stop or cite motorists, but to discourage dangerous driving behaviors.”

Alcohol-related crashes remain a serious problem, accounting for about one-third of all traffic fatalities. But impaired driving doesn’t just mean alcohol, police say.

“We also face challenges with drugged drivers: people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by illegal drugs like heroin, prescription, and over-the-counter medications.”

Wisconsin has 23 multi-jurisdictional OWI enforcement task forces that operate throughout the year, with about 6,000 law enforcement officers who are trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement.

But the campaign is only one way to address the problem. Police say they can’t be successful without community support.

“Never allow someone to drive impaired. If you encounter a driver you suspect is impaired, safely call 911 and provide as much detail as you can. Protect yourself and your passengers by buckling up, watch your speed and eliminate distractions,” the post said.

In 2018, alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin resulted in 160 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries, with nearly 23,000 OWI convictions.

Anyone can download the free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website, or the Tavern League of Wisconsin app at www.tlw.org/ to find a safe, sober ride home.