Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will mobilize in hopes of reducing the number of deaths on Wisconsin roads.
David Pabst is director of the Bureau of Transportation Safety at the Department of Transportation. He says the goal is to save lives. “We’re striving for zero in Wisconsin. One of the effective ways we do that is high-visibility enforcement campaigns and mobilizations. ‘Booze and Belts’ is pretty high profile, makes the news, people pay attention. They modify their behavior and they drive safely, buckle up, and drive sober.”
Pabst says the holidays are especially bad for impaired driving. This is an effort to get people’s attention, he says, before the holidays. “We’re just trying to save lives by getting people to buckle up and drive sober.”
Pabst says awareness efforts are working. Between 2003 and 2013, fatal alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin dropped by 47 percent, while crashes causing injury fell by 59 percent. Last year there were 527 total fatalities on Wisconsin roads, 35.1 percent of those deaths were alcohol related and could have been prevented.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) penalties range in severity depending on the type of offense and number of repeat offenses. The costs of driving while intoxicated continue to accumulate after the initial ticket fee. Violators will see court fees, loss of license, assessment, reinstatement, towing fees, the increased insurance rate — and worse — cause injuries or death to yourself or someone else.
The “Booze and Belts” traffic safety campaign continues through the 20th.