Seeking to enhance public safety and deter impaired driving, Wisconsin law enforcement agencies will patrol in greater numbers for longer hours during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which began Aug. 16 and continues through Labor Day on Sept. 2.

Last year, alcohol-related crashes in the state resulted in 159 deaths and nearly 3,300 injuries, and there were 24,624 OWI convictions, according to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation news release.

While alcohol-impaired driving remains a concern, there is also a growing challenge with “people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by illegal drugs like heroin or marijuana, prescription or over-the-counter medications,” the news release said.

To combat the issue, Wisconsin has nearly 5,000 law enforcement officers trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement to help detect and remove impaired drivers; 301 drug recognition experts, among the most in the nation; and 23 multijurisdictional, high-visibility OWI enforcement task forces that operate all year, according to the news release.

People are asked to identify a sober designated driver, never allow someone else to get behind the wheel impaired and call 911 to report a driver they suspect is impaired.

Safer alternatives

People can download a free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website that includes a “find a ride” feature to help locate transportation alternatives.

Also, some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons a safe ride home. For more information, visit tlw.org and click on “Safe Ride.”

– Scott De Laruelle