Police, organizations urge safety on the roads this Fourth of July

Police will have more patrols Tuesday

The Fourth of July usually means fireworks, hot dogs and sometimes alcohol.

But police, and some volunteers at Riverfest, are once again warning others about the dangers of drinking and driving.

At the main entrance to Riverfest, a group of volunteers has one lofty goal.

“We want to promote zero deaths, zero fatalities on Wisconsin roadways,” said Ben Nikolai, community service specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Zero in Wisconsin program travels all over the state, focusing primarily on motorcycle safety, but it look at impaired driving by having driving simulators inside its display.

“It will slow down the reaction time of the controls, and you’ll be operating as if you were impaired,” said Nikolai.

La Crosse police said if you choose to drink, make a plan beforehand.

“Please make sure you have a designated driver, or in addition, if you didn’t realize that you were going to have some, that’s what Uber, Lyft, taxis, everyone is for, so please call them,” said community police Officer Brooke Pataska.

Police will have extra patrols throughout town, and if you are caught under the influence, it will cost you.

“Fines start between the mid-$500. So $500 and it increases from there,” said Pataska. “In addition, penalties as far as losing your license or having it revoked or suspended.”

While the Zero in Wisconsin display is perfect for people coming into Riverfest, it also is a reminder to people when they are leaving.

“Down here at Riverfest, a lot of the activities do include the food and beverage tents, one of them being alcohol,” said Nikolai. “Hopefully this can be a reminder on their way out that ‘Maybe I should take a little more caution with driving.’ Call a cab instead. Call a friend, a buddy.”

The Zero in Wisconsin program also looks at safe driving trips for motorcycles.

In addition to the distracted and impaired driving simulator, there were motorcycle simulators designed to help teach people how to drive motorcycles safely.