Baraboo police are joining other agencies to enforce impaired driving laws this month and encourage citizens to find alternative safe rides as necessary to reduce traffic fatalities.
The Baraboo Police Department and other agencies across Wisconsin plan to participate in a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that begins Friday and runs through Sept. 2, according to a news release attributed to Police Chief Mark Schauf.
“These high-visibility law enforcement efforts are intended to discourage motorists from engaging in dangerous driving behaviors that endanger everyone,” Baraboo Police Capt. Rob Sinden said of the upcoming campaign.
In 2018, a total of 159 people died and 3,300 people were injured as a result of alcohol-related crashes, according to the Baraboo Police Department.
Drugged driving is also a prevalent issue, Sinden said. That includes people who are impaired by illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines.
About 5,000 police officers in Wisconsin are trained in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement to detect impairment, according to the Baraboo Police Department.
Wisconsin also has 301 drug recognition experts and 23 multi-jurisdictional task forces operating throughout the state.
So far this year in Sauk County, two people have been killed and 12 others have been injured in vehicle crashes related either to alcohol or drug use, according to the Wisconsin Community Maps program. Community Maps is jointly operated by the Bureau of Transportation Safety and the Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory.
The state Department of Transportation offers a cellphone app called “Driver Sober,” which can help citizens find a taxi or ride share service. The Tavern League of Wisconsin also offers information to citizens online at tlw.org/saferide about how to find a safe ride home.
Multiple businesses in Baraboo provide safe rides home to patrons, according to the Tavern League.
The Baraboo Police Department is calling on citizens to help enforce sober driving and responsible drinking. Sinden said citizens can help in a number of ways, most of all by preventing someone they know from getting behind the wheel while impaired. He is asking citizens to report impaired drivers to local police by calling 911.
Establishing a designated driver or having an alternate ride home available can also save lives, Sinden said.
“We do all we can to keep our roads and communities as safe as possible, but we need cooperation from motorists and citizens,” Sinden said.