Wisconsin’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign began Friday.
The La Crosse Police and Sheriff’s Departments, the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will join other law enforcement agencies across the state in the annual campaign.
Continuous efforts have decreased fatalities and injuries from drunken driving over the last decade, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Fatalities have dropped 47 percent since 2003 while injuries have dropped 59 percent. Efforts include better education and more effective enforcement.
However, there are still about 33,000 drunk driving arrests made every year.
“Although we’re making progress in preventing drunken driving, too many people are still being killed or injured because of the irresponsible decision to drive while impaired. Drunken driving is entirely preventable,” Vernon County Sheriff John Spears said in a statement.
"All alcohol-related injuries and deaths are preventable in Wisconsin, it just takes the driver to use a designated driver use a bus service, use a taxi service,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Sergeant Gary Helgerson
“The consequences of drunken driving arrest include major embarrassment, expensive penalties, installation of an ignition interlock device, and possibly jail time,” said Monroe County Sheriff Pete Quirin. “Driving drunk will be a decision you’ll regret the rest of your life, if you are lucky enough to live.”
The “Zero in Wisconsin” traffic safety initiative has a free mobile app that includes a number of features to help people get home after a night out. The app is free and available at zeroinwisconsin.gov.
The La Crosse Area Tavern League Foundation sponsors a SafeRide program that’s available to its patrons.
The minimum fine for drunk driving is more than 800 dollars.