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UW-Eau Claire Police Join Nationwide Drunk Driving Crackdown

RELEASED: Aug. 13, 2009

Drunk Driving imageEAU CLAIRE — To combat the deadly dangers of drunken driving, police officers at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be out in force to arrest impaired motorists as part of a nationwide law enforcement crackdown from Aug. 21 through Sept. 7. The "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest" crackdown will combine focused law enforcement with a federally funded media campaign to deter impaired driving.

Drunken driving devastates individuals, families and whole communities. Last year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin killed 234 people and injured 4,319. Approximately 37,000 drivers — a number nearly equal to the population of Beloit — were convicted of drunken driving in Wisconsin in 2008.

This year, deaths from motorcycle crashes are increasing compared with last year, and approximately 47 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes in Wisconsin are alcohol-related.

"Drunken driving is too prevalent and too deadly to ignore," said University Police Sgt. Chris Kirchman."That's why we don't give warnings or accept excuses for drunken driving. If you're over the limit, you'll be arrested. The decision to drive while impaired will likely be one you'll regret the rest of your life.

"During the upcoming crackdown and throughout the rest of the year, our goal is not to arrest more drunken drivers. We simply are trying to save lives and prevent injuries. If we can deter people from getting behind the wheel when they're impaired, we will make progress toward the goal of reducing the number of preventable traffic deaths to zero in Wisconsin," Kirchman said.

Instead of risking an arrest for impaired driving, the UW-Eau Claire Police Department offers 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.

UW-Eau Claire Police also will be strictly enforcing Wisconsin's Absolute Sobriety Law. Anyone under 21 years of age caught with any detectable blood alcohol concentration while operating a motor vehicle will be arrested.

For more information, contact Kirchman at 715-836-2222 or kirchmca@uwec.edu.

-30-

NW/KH

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