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home : news : vilas county December 17, 2014

12/5/2013 4:15:00 PM
Vilas County Sheriff's Office to join 'Booze and Belts' traffic safety mobilization
December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

Drugged drivers 
in Wisconsin face severe punishments

  

December marks the tenth anniversary of a Wisconsin law that prohibits drivers from having any detectable amount of a controlled substance in their system, such as marijuana, cocaine or heroin, while operating a motor vehicle. 

The law also makes the legal penalties for drugged driving the same as drunken driving.

The Wisconsin State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies are constantly on the lookout for all forms of impaired driving, including drugged driving.

“Law enforcement officers have extensive training and experience in identifying drivers impaired by alcohol. Officers use many of those same procedures to identify drugged drivers,” Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Nicholas R. Wanink of the North Central Region, said. 

“Drivers who exhibit signs of drug use must submit to a blood test that determines the presence of drugs. Refusing to submit to the blood test means an automatic revocation of the driver’s license.”

In addition to illegal drugs, the overuse and abuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications, especially when combined with alcohol, will often impair driving ability and judgment. State law prohibits drivers from being “under the influence of any drug to a degree which renders him or her incapable of safely driving or under the combined influence of an intoxicant and any other drug to a degree which renders him or her incapable of driving safely.”

Capt. Wanink said, “Drivers under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two are deadly threats to everyone on the road. That’s why officers never take a break – even during the holiday season – from arresting those who choose to get behind the wheel while impaired.”



To increase safety belt use and reduce drunken driving, Vilas County Sheriff’s Office will mobilize for the statewide “Booze and Belts” campaign from Dec. 13-21.

“Fatal and serious injuries caused by traffic crashes are tragic any time of the year, but they are even more devastating especially for families during the holiday season,” Captain Russ Kennedy said. “To prevent needless deaths and injuries, our officers will be out in force during the Booze and Belts mobilization looking for unbuckled and impaired motorists along with other unsafe driving behavior.”

During mobilizations and throughout the year, law enforcement agencies are cracking down on impaired and unbuckled motorists. Last year in Wisconsin, there were approximately 27,000 convictions for drunken driving and nearly 105,000 convictions for failure to fasten safety belts. 

“If you drive drunk, you are seriously jeopardizing your life and the lives of others on the road. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid a crash, you still are risking an arrest that will cause humiliation, huge fines, possibly having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicles, and perhaps even jail time,” Kennedy said. “We also take safety belt enforcement seriously. Too many drivers and passengers are seriously injured or killed while being ejected from their vehicles or tossed around violently inside them during a crash.”

The Booze and Belts mobilization is part of a statewide effort to reduce the number of preventable traffic deaths to Zero in Wisconsin.

“Our goal is voluntary compliance with traffic laws, so we urge you to make the responsible decision to buckle up and drive sober,” Kennedy said. “But if you make an irresponsible decision, we will stop you and we won’t give you a warning or a second chance.”







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