Drunk driving: A life-changing decision on New Year’s Eve

How to avoid drunk driving
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 6:01 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, and with it comes festive celebrations.

Wisconsin State Patrol said that you should consider how your going to get home from your New Year’s Eve celebration if you’re going to drink.

“Find someone that’s not going to be drinking or consuming alcoholic beverages and designate them to drive and get everyone home safely,” said Captain Wanless, State Patrol.

There will be extra patrol out on New Year’s Eve to keep an eye out for intoxicated drivers.

The latest data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation shows 140 people were killed in 2019 from alcohol-related crashes. There were about 21,000 convictions.

“If you get convicted of a drunk driving it can cost you almost 10 thousand dollars,” said Captain Wanless.

Substance abuse and mental health counselor Linda Larson Schlitz said she’s seen those tragedies first hand.

“It devastates people and people go to jail for life for killing someone,” said Larson Schlitz.

She said to determine a designated driver before you go out. The Drive Sober mobile app can help with that. You spin the bottle on the app with your friends to see who is designated driver. If nobody is up for it, then it provides a list of all the ride-sharing and taxi services near you.

The app has nearly 75 thousand downloads.

The Program of Policy Chief for the Bureau of Transportation Safety, Michael Schwendau, said he knows the app has helped prevent many crashes. He said when the statics go down for drunk driving, and app use is up, they know they are doing something right.

“It’s so hard to measure that crash that doesn’t happen because somebody made the right decision,” Schwendau.

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