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UW-Eau Claire Police Department to Participate
in Drunk Driving Crackdown Aug. 15-Sept. 1

RELEASED: Aug. 11, 2008

Click-It logoEAU CLAIRE — Because drunken drivers are prevalent and deadly threats not just to themselves but also to everyone else on the road, the University Police at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will patrol to detect impaired motorists as part of a nationwide law enforcement crackdown Aug. 15 through Sept. 1.

University Police badgeThe "Drunk Driving — Over the Limit, Under Arrest" crackdown will combine high-visibility law enforcement with a federally funded media campaign to deter impaired driving.

Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunken driving in the nation. More than 26 percent of Wisconsin adults who were surveyed admitted that they had driven under the influence of alcohol in the previous year, according to a nationwide study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released in April.

Driving while impaired is not a victimless crime. Last year, alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin killed 337 people and injured 5,552. A person is killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash in Wisconsin approximately every 1 hours, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol Bureau of Transportation Safety.

"More than 42,000 drivers, which is about the same number of people as the population of Fond du Lac, were convicted of drunken driving offenses in Wisconsin last year," said University Police Sgt. Jay Dobson.

"When we stop a drunken driver, we don't give warnings or accept excuses," Dobson said. "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 and have your vehicle impounded. 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," Dobson said.

Instead of risking an arrest for impaired driving, UW-Eau Claire police officers offer the following suggestions:

  • Choose a sober designated driver before you start to drink.

  • If you're feeling buzzed, you probably are over the 0.08 (alcohol concentration) limit and should not drive.

  • Rather than drive while impaired, 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 www.tlw.org for more information.)

UW-Eau Claire police also will strictly enforce Wisconsin's Absolute Sobriety Law. Anyone who is under 21 years of age and has any detectable alcohol concentration in their system while operating a vehicle will be arrested.

For more information, contact Dobson at 715-836-2102.

-30-

JD/NW

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