Wisconsin State Patrol cracks down on suspected drunk drivers

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OSSEO, Wis. (WEAU)- The Wisconsin State Patrol wants to make sure you don’t ring in the New Year with a drunk driving arrest or crash.
The State Patrol says in the past year 230 people have died in the state from drunk driving related crashes and that’s just part of the reason they are ramping up enforcements on New Year’s Eve.

“We kind of call it amateur night, people come out and drink too much,” bartender Emily Brown said.

Brown says New Year’s Eve festivities mean big business, but there is a fine line between a good time and having too much to drink.

“You just kind of need to know the person’s limit and use your best judgment,” she said.

But if you get behind the wheel after a night out it could mean ringing in 2014 with hundreds of dollars in fines and court fees for a drunk driving arrest.

“It’s $970 for two tickets then after you look at the other costs you're looking at a cost of 10,000 dollars for a single O.W.I. arrest,” State Trooper Jason Bakken said.

Trooper Bakken says on a night like New Year's Eve troopers and other law enforcement are looking for drunk drivers, and most times they are easy to spot.

“We do look for other violations like speeding, not obeying traffic signs or traffic laws equipment violations. Typical things that we would stop cars for,” he explained.

Bakken says the best way to stay away from an O.W.I. is simple. Make a plan to get a sober ride home before the night begins.

“It’s as easy as looking for a sober ride, a designated driver or calling a cab,” he added.

Trooper Bakken says its simple steps like these that can ultimately save you from drowning in fines, a damaged record and most importantly, your life.

“We've lost 230 people in the state of Wisconsin alone for intoxicated driving in 2013. That’s 230 families that won’t have their family member come home,” Bakken said. “It's a preventable crash, its preventable circumstances. Think about that before you get behind the wheel and drink and drive.”

The Wisconsin State Patrol says it does have an app available for smartphones that can help you track down a safe ride in your area. You can find that by searching Drive Sober in your app store.

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