Local police departments kick off ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign

By Patrick Lynn

Police departments in Stevens Point and Plover will participate in a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign beginning Aug. 16.

The campaign involves law enforcement agencies throughout the state and goes through Labor Day.

The campaign will increase law enforcement visibility in the area, according to Lt. Steven Spath from the Stevens Point Police Department.

The campaign efforts as “intended to discourage motorists from engaging in dangerous driving behaviors that endanger everyone,” he said in a press release on Monday.

Last year in Wisconsin, alcohol-related crashes resulted in 159 deaths and nearly 3,300 injuries. While alcohol-impaired drivers remain a concern, a growing problem involves drug-impaired drivers – people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by legal or illegal drugs including prescription and over-the-counter medications.

To help combat impaired driving, Wisconsin has nearly 5,000 police officers trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) to help detect and remove impaired drivers from the roadways; 301 highly-trained Drug Recognition Experts—among the most in the nation; and 23 multi-jurisdictional high-visibility enforcement task forces operating throughout the year, across the state.

There are several ways citizens can help, Spath said.

  • Never allow someone to get behind the wheel impaired. Find a safe alternative to get them home. If you plan to celebrate, identify a sober designated driver;
  • Report impaired drivers to law enforcement by calling 911. Provide as much detail as possible on the driver, vehicle, and location;
  • Download the free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website. The app includes a “find a ride” feature to help locate mass transit and taxi services;
  • Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons a safe ride home. Visit www.tlw.org/ and click on Safe Ride;
  • Make sure that everyone in your vehicle is buckled up—every trip. Watch your speed and eliminate distractions.

“We do all we can to keep our roads and communities as safe as possible, but we need cooperation from motorists and citizens,” Spath said.