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State drive sober campaign begins for holiday season

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, now through New Year’s day. The WisDOT uses federal funds to support stepped-up law enforcement efforts, along with public education and outreach to help deter impaired driving.

“This annual initiative combines federal, state and local resources, to raise public awareness about the dangers of impaired driving and helps prevent needless tragedies along our roadways,” said WisDOT secretary-designee Craig Thompson. “We want everyone to have a safe, enjoyable holiday. Motorists can do their part by buckling up, driving sober and avoiding distractions.”

Alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin, in 2018, resulted in 160 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries. Also last year, there were nearly 23,000 OWI convictions in Wisconsin.

While alcohol-impaired driving remains a concern, Wisconsin, and many states see a growing challenge with drugged drivers – people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by drugs, including prescription, or over-the-counter medications and illegal narcotics.

To combat the problem, Wisconsin currently has 23 multijurisdictional, high-visibility OWI enforcement task forces that operate year-round across the state. Nearly 6,000 law enforcement officers have been trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) to help detect and remove impaired drivers from roadways.

The state also has 301 highly-trained drug recognition experts, among the most in the nation.

Citizens can help save lives with the following tips:

• If someone suspects a driver is impaired, call 911. Be prepared to provide as much detail as possible about the driver, vehicle and location.

• When planning to celebrate, identify a sober designated driver. Never allow someone else to get behind the wheel impaired.

• Download the free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website. It includes a “find a ride” feature to help locate transportation alternatives.

• Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons a safe ride home. Visit and click on “Safe Ride.”