FOX47 NEWS - New Year's OWI Action Plan

Jeff Angileri
Dec 28, 2008, 5:37 PM

Dane County sheriff's deputies were out in force this holiday weekend, taking drunk drivers off the roads.

As if the fog wasn't dangerous enough, police say at least a dozen drunk drivers got behind the wheel.

On Friday, 7 arrests -- including a serious car crash that sent three people to the hospital.

On Saturday, 4 arrests -- some were repeat offenders.

On Sunday, a roll over crash -- MedFlight transported one person to UW hospital with serious injuries.

This is concerning because as we're out celebrating the holidays -- and nobody's trying to tell anybody not to celebrate or drink -- but do it responsibly, said Dane Co. Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

Thanks to a $25,000 DOT grant, every weekend thru 2009, the sheriff's department will increase patrols county-wide to catch OWI suspects. Sobriety checkpoints aren't legal in Wisconsin - but Sheriff Mahoney says they're not necessary.

Our officers are highly trained, he said. They're capable of identifying individuals under the influence and using probable cause to make that stop.

Now, police are gearing up for the upcoming New Year celebration, a holiday associated with champaign and late night parties.

We're trying to say drink responsibly, said Mahoney. If you feel you've had too much to drink, utilize another option available. Either stay over with a host, find a hotel room, take a cab, or use the SafeRide Program.

SafeRide provides those who have been drinking too much with voucher for a free cab ride home. And it's actually funded by drunk drivers themselves. Every convicted person is charged an extra $5 that goes toward the program. To take advantage, just ask your bartender.

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