Law enforcement officers are gearing up for New Year's Eve drunken driving enforcement.
While some intoxicated motorists step hard on the gas pedal, or weave a lot in traffic, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said what he and his deputies often see on freeways are alcohol-soaked drivers going way too slowly.
“And the reason why they’re driving under the speed limit is they think, ‘Well, I don’t want to get caught speeding, because then if I get caught for speeding they’ll noticed that I’m intoxicated,’” Clarke said.
Clarke said that they also drive slowly because they can’t control the car while driving at the speed limit. He said going well below the speed limit while other drivers around you are following the law is very dangerous. Clarke also said he supports some of the new technology being used to help the inebriated leave the driving to others.
One of the gizmos is a free smart phone application called Drive Sober. Wisconsin State Patrol Sgt. Todd Brehm said the app has a Find-a-Ride feature that helps people locate a local taxi or bus to get someone home safely. Brehm said 40,000 people have downloaded the app since it became available last March.
“Just with the sheer numbers of downloads, I’d hope to think it’s helped people make those right decisions if they decide to go out and celebrate,” said Brehm.
Brehm said reserving the ride early is important.
Clarke is also calling for the Legislature to make first-time drunken driving a crime instead of a misdemeanor. But Republican leaders of the state Senate are throwing cold water on the notion of tougher drunken driving laws.
Clarke said his deputies brace themselves for working on New Year's Eve, but some worry about a drunk driver coming along and injuring them.
Find out more about the Drive Sober app and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's “Zero in Wisconsin” campaign against drunken driving deaths here .