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University Police Join National Drunken Driving Crackdown

RELEASED: Aug. 14, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — The UW-Eau Claire Police Department will focus patrol time on arresting drunken drivers as part of a nationwide law enforcement crackdown Aug. 17 through Sept. 3 .The "Drunk Driving — Over the Limit, Under Arrest" crackdown will combine high-visibility law enforcement through Labor Day with a federally funded media campaign to deter impaired driving.

Because drunken drivers are deadly threats not just to themselves but also to everyone else on the road, driving while impaired is not a victimless crime. Last year, alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin killed 305 people and injured nearly 6,000. A person is killed or injured in alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin approximately every 88 minutes, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol Bureau of Transportation Safety.

"When we stop a drunken driver, we don't give warnings or accept excuses," said University Police Officer Doug Hubbard. "It doesn't matter if you're driving a pick-up, a mini-van or a motorcycle. And it doesn't matter if you're within a block of your house. If you're over the limit, you'll be arrested. Impaired driving will cost you your license and an enormous amount of money for fines, court costs, increased insurance premiums and other expenses. If you refuse a blood or breath alcohol test, you can lose your license on the spot. Repeat offenders face jail time, and if you hurt or kill someone in a crash you will face extremely serious charges, like vehicular manslaughter. The decision to drive while impaired will likely be one you'll regret the rest of your life."

Instead of risking an arrest for impaired driving, the University Police offer the following suggestions:

  • Choose a sober designated driver before partying.
  • If you're feeling buzzed, you probably are over the 0.08 blood alcohol concentration limit and should not drive.
  • Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a sober friend to drive you home. Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons with a safe ride home. (Visit the Tavern League of Wisconsin or Road Crew Web sites for more information.)

"We hope that this crackdown will voluntarily deter people from driving while impaired," Hubbard said, "but if they choose to threaten the safety of others by getting behind the wheel while impaired, we're fully prepared to get them off the road by arresting them."

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CK/JP

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