High Visibility OWI Enforcement Begins in Wausau Area


Memorial day is the unofficial kick off to summer fun and many of us in Wisconsin like to have a drink to go along with that fun. However, local police want to make sure you manage your drinking responsibly.

A team of five people from Wausau, Rothschild, and Kronenwetter Police Departments are out focusing on drunk driving enforcement. You can tell exactly where they are by the pink OWI enforcement zone signs. Police said the long weekend is a good time to start especially since Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the nation.

"The likelihood is that if you're involved in a crash where somebody is killed, alcohol is probably involved," said Captain Ben Bliven with the Wausau Police Department.

In 2012, more than one in three fatal crashes involved alcohol. More than 223 people died in those crashes with about 3,000 others injured. The number of people were convicted of drunk driving is 33,000. These are all Wisconsin statistics.

"Well I think the statistics are high because we have a culture that encourages alcohol use and it's different in Wisconsin than it is in a lot of other states," Bliven said.

He said you have a lot of options to make sure you get home safely.

"Use a designated driver. If you can walk home, walk home. Use a safe ride, so there's a lot of different ways to make sure you don't get picked up for drunk driving," he said.

Bliven said the goal of all of this is to try to make the roads as safe as they can and encourage safe driving. This is the first time the jurisdictions are teaming up to do these patrols. You'll find them in different areas in Wausau, Rothschild, and Kronenwetter. These patrols will be going on intermmittanly throughout the summer and go until at least September.


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