Local law enforcement initiative to deter drunk driving

To combat drunken driving, nine law enforcement agencies in Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties will team up for a new High-Visibility Education and Enforcement (HVEE) Task Force.

Deployments are scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25, and Sunday, Dec. 13.

Among the participating law enforcement agencies are the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, the Sheboygan Police Department, the Elkhart Lake Police Department, the Kohler Police Department, the Plymouth Police Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

The agencies will be putting more officers on patrol for longer hours to stop, test and arrest drunken drivers. However, the HVEE Task Force’s goal is to keep people from getting behind the wheel while impaired - not to make more arrests. Therefore, the task force will also focus on education and outreach in their local communities to convince people that drunken driving is prevalent, deadly and entirely preventable.

The HVEE Task Force’s education and outreach efforts will include distributing posters and coasters with drive sober messages to local bars and restaurants. The task force will also promote alternative transportation options, emphasize the importance of designating a sober driver, and encourage the use of the free Drive Sober mobile app available at zeroinwisconsin.gov.

The task force will reach out to businesses and organizations to help spread the lifesaving message of the serious consequences of impaired driving. Law enforcement agencies will use their local news media and social media to publicize their deployments in advance as a deterrent to drunken driving.

Federal funding for task force officers’ overtime enforcement will be provided by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Safety.

The HVEE initiative to improve traffic safety is part of a pilot program under the Drive to Save Lives campaign created by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Governors’ Highway Safety Association. In addition to the HVEE Task Force in the two Wisconsin counties, pilot projects will be implemented in Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina.

The Drive to Save Lives campaign is a targeted approach to traffic safety that focuses on implementing data-driven approaches to traffic safety and traffic incident management; enforcing speed limits, seat belt use, impairment violations, distracted driving and other highly visible driver behaviors; actively responding to unsafe driving behaviors by operators of motorcycles and large trucks and buses; and educating motorists about the importance of practicing safe driving.

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