Wisconsin, like many states, loses a lot of lives due to drunk driving. Last year, a record low of 527 drunk driving fatalities might have motivated law officers of the state. This month, as part of an effort to keep drunk driving to a minimum around the holiday season, they were out in force. And, they were looking for drivers making the two mistakes that cause them their lives: driving drunk and not wearing a seatbelt.
Surprisingly, seat belts and drunk driving have a lot in common! They are both leading causes of roadway deaths and the primary reason law enforcement in Wisconsin was recently standing on street corners, watching traffic. The goal was to catch as many drivers as possible who were not using their seat belts. Thankfully, that’s fewer drivers than in other parts of the country, but the “Booze and Belts” campaign was still a success.
But, officers don’t just want to write citations to people breaking the law. They actually want to educate people and help them change their destructive habits. To do this, Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation (DOT) uses road signs that tell you how many traffic fatalities Wisconsin has had to date. The statistic flashes at you while you’re driving down the street. State Patrol hopes the signs encourage you to wear your seat belt and refrain from getting behind the wheel after you’ve had a few drinks.
The saddest part of the holiday season for many people is that they have lost a loved one at some point during the year. Celebrations and festivities are a nice way to get together with those you cherish and to make new memories. Unfortunately, many families in Wisconsin will be denied that experience this year because their loved ones died in unnecessary car accidents. Drunk driving is completely preventable. All it takes is the desire to do the right thing, just like wearing a seatbelt.