For the Rapids City Times
GRAND RAPIDS/WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Grand Rapids and Wisconsin Rapids Police Departments will join hundreds of law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin to combat impaired driving during the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative, Aug. 17 – Sept. 3. Last year in Wisconsin, alcohol-related crashes resulted in 161 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries.
“Whether it’s caused by alcohol or any combination of legal or illegal drugs, impaired drivers endanger everyone along our roadways,” said Grand Rapids Police Chief Melvin Pedersen. “During the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative, our officers will patrol in greater numbers and for longer hours to help prevent impaired drivers from killing or injuring themselves or someone else.”
While alcohol-impaired drivers remain a significant problem, a growing concern is drugged driving – people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by legal or illegal drugs including prescription and over-the-counter medications.
To help combat the problem nearly 3,800 Wisconsin law enforcement officers have been trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) to help detect and remove impaired drivers from the roadways. Wisconsin also has 276 Drug Recognition Experts – among the most in the nation and there are 25 multi-jurisdictional, high-visibility OWI enforcement task forces operating throughout the year across the state.
Rather than risk an OWI arrest or crash, local law enforcement urges drivers to follow these common sense suggestions: Report impaired drivers to law enforcement by calling 911 and provide as much detail as possible on the driver, vehicle, and location. If you plan to celebrate, identify a sober designated driver. Never allow someone else to get behind the wheel impaired. Download the free “Drive Sober” mobile app from the WisDOT website. The app includes a “find a ride” feature to help locate mass transit and taxi services.
Some taverns and restaurants also have programs to provide patrons a safe ride home. Visit www.tlw.org/ and click on Safe Ride.