Authorities to increase New Year's Eve patrols

Published On: Dec 28 2012 12:59:24 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 28 2012 12:54:19 PM CST

As you ring in the New Year, law enforcement across Wisconsin are asking you to think before you get behind the wheel.

It's one of the busiest years for local law enforcement on the roads and it will end a deadly traffic year.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reports nearly 600 drivers have died on the road this year. That’s the most since 2007.

Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Brad Bray says there are a number of factors in dangerous driving associated with the holidays, like road conditions, speeding, and seat belt use, but alcohol continues to be one of the most troubling factors.

"After a while you don't realize if you're drinking too much, how you may be getting out of hand and there may be consequences later," Bray said.

State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable, director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety, says on average, someone is killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash about every 2 1/2 hours. In 2011, there were about 35,000 convictions for drunk driving in Wisconsin. Huxtable says for about two out of three of those drunken drivers, it was their first conviction.

Bray says the La Crosse Tavern League will once again offer their safe ride program from local bars. Otherwise, it's best to have a designated driver or call a cab if you have any doubts.