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St. Croix sheriff's deputies joining peers statewide in OWI crackdown

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St. Croix County sheriff's deputies will join hundreds of other law enforcement officers across Wisconsin in days leading up to Labor Day to get drunk drivers off the road.

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'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign will begin Aug. 15 and continue until Sept. 1.

Education and enforcement efforts over the past 10 years in Wisconsin have helped reduce alcohol-related crashes from 348 in 2003 to 185 in 2013 -- a 47 percent drop. Meanwhile, injury accidents have declined 59 percent from 6,445 in 2003 to 2,660 last year -- 59 percent reduction.

"Drunken driving is entirely preventable," said Sheriff John Shilts. "Designate a sover driver before you start drinking, call a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.

"If you're feeling buzzed, you are likely over the .08 (blood alcohold content) limit and should not drive.

"The serious consequences of a drunken driving arrest include major embarrassment, expensive penalties, installation of an ignition interlock system, higher insurance rates and possible jail time.

"You will regret the decision to drive drunk the rest of your life -- if you're lucky enough to live," Shilts concluded.

Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons with a safe ride home. Visit www.tlw.org and click on "Safe Road" And report impaired drivers to law enforcement by calling 911, Shilts urged.

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