It's el Cinco de Mayo, and law enforcement warns "Amigos don't let amigos drive drunk."
They're not discouraging you from celebrating the holiday, but instead federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are urging you to make wise decisions while drinking alcoholic beverages. Major Daniel Lonsdorf, Director, Bureau of Transportation Safety, says an average of 43% of all highway fatalities on May 5th are caused by drunk drivers. Wisconsin is among the worst.
"All too often, bad things happen to generally good people on our highways every day."
Lonsdorf says it's important to plan ahead. The how-to-get-home-after-a-night-of-drinking decision needs to be made BEFORE the drinking starts … when you're sober enough to think about the consequences of your decision.
"There are studies are telling us that repeatedly that as people continue to drink more their judgement continues to get worse. And then late at night or early morning hours or when they've been out drinking they're now trying to make a decision that they are not capable of making. … Certainly not a rational decision, certainly not based on the safety of themselves or others."
Lonsdorf says the costs of driving while intoxicated continue to accumulate.
"A typical drunk driving first offense will cost an average person somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000, and that doesn't include any lawyer fees if you decide to hire a lawyer."
He says the base fine is $500 for the first offense, but when you tack on court fees, loss of license, assessment, reinstatement, towing fees, and the increased insurance rate, that all really adds up. And, Lonsdorf says, heaven forbid you should kill somebody, you could end up behind bars for a very long time.