Stevens Point police respond to a disturbance on Nov. 16. (Metro Wire photo)

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ patrols continue through weekend

By Brandi Makuski

Law enforcement agencies in Portage Co. will continue this year’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign through Jan. 1.

The operation puts a heightened focus on intoxicated driving during the holiday season.

“The goal of these comprehensive law enforcement efforts is to help make roadways safer for everyone by discouraging people from making the dangerous and irresponsible decision of getting behind the wheel impaired,” said Steve Spath, operations sergeant for the Stevens Point Police Department.

According to the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, alcohol-related crashes resulted in 169 deaths and more than 3,300 injuries.

Drunk driving remains a top concern, Spath said, but “drugged driving” is a growing problem.

“…people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by legal or illegal drugs including prescription and over-the-counter medications,” Spath explained.

About 3,800 law enforcement officers across 25 task forces in Wisconsin have received intense training to spot signs of impaired driving, WisDOT said, with almost 300 officers designed as “highly-trained” in drug recognition.

Anyone who sees an impaired driver is asked to call 911 and report “as much detail as possible” on the driver, vehicle, and location, Spath said.

WisDOT offers a free “Drive Sober” mobile app from its website and most taverns in Portage Co. offer Safe Ride Home vouchers for $5. Lyft services are also available in the Stevens Point area.