The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign continues through Labor Day. Approximately 360 state and local law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin are participating in this effort, according to Steve Olson with the Department of Transportation.
Olson says about 40 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in Wisconsin are alcohol-related, with roughly 280 deaths each year — all preventable. “And then about 5,000 people are injured, as well, so you can see it creates a lot of carnage on the highway.” About 40,000 drunken drivers are convicted every year in Wisconsin.
Olson says, while officials are always on the lookout for drunken drivers, this is an extra push to discourage impaired driving before someone gets arrested, hurt, or killed. “We’ll have more law enforcement officers working longer hours on patrol and we’ve also backed this up with a public education campaign to deter people from drunken driving.”
Olson says their goal is not to make more arrests; their hope in giving this warning is to prevent impaired individuals from getting behind the wheel in the first place. “The whole point of this thing isn’t to arrest more people; it’s to get people to voluntarily comply with common sense. Don’t drive if you’re impaired.”
Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunken driving in the nation. The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign started on August 19; it’s annual nationwide crackdown on drunken driving sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.