4th of July reminders: Wisconsin law enforcement warns people about drinking and driving

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Fireworks, food and flags are all part of the 4th of July weekend, but the festivities can fuel some dangerous decisions.

Law enforcement is encouraging people to celebrate the holiday weekend, but reminding everyone to do it safely.

“Impaired driving citations and arrests typically go up,” said Nick Jarmusz, the public affairs director for AAA.

Additional state troopers and local law enforcement will be on the lookout for intoxicated and impaired drivers.

“We do have all available officers out on the road. All of the troopers and inspectors that we can are working this weekend,” said Sgt. Craig Morehouse with the Wisconsin State Patrol.

If you plan to drink alcohol, Morehouse says you should have a designated driver or use public transportation and rideshare apps.

“Have them be your driver for the night so you can have a sober person behind the wheel,” he said.

The consequences for intoxicated driving are more than just a fine.

“If you are second offense and higher or if something happens that somebody gets injured or killed because you’re involved in a crash when you’re intoxicated, there can be criminal repercussions from that as well,” Morehouse said.

One way to stay safe is using AAA’s Tow-to-Go program.

“The tow-to-go program allows them to get a free, confidential, safe ride home for them and for their vehicles,” Jarmusz said.

AAA says people should have a plan in place to get home and use Tow-to-Go only as a last resort.

“This should not be your plan for the evening to utilize this program,” Jarmusz said. “This more of an emergency last resort program if you find yourself out there and don’t have any other option to get home safely.”

Law enforcement officials say getting behind the wheel while intoxicated puts lives at risk.

“Taking your chances and risking getting into a crash and hurting yourself or hurting someone else or God forbid much worse,” Jarmusz said.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin also offers SafeRide. People can ask a bartender or manager to help them get home safely.

If you see someone who is intoxicated and getting behind the wheel, the Wisconsin State Patrol is asking people to step in and stop them, because the best way to end a holiday is when everyone gets home safely.

Recent News Headlines from News 8 Now 

Health experts urge safe practices during July 4th holiday 

First Wisconsin monkeypox case identified in Dane County

Bangor schools may ask taxpayers for more money this fall to tackle facility upgrades

‘Inspired by La Crosse’ art contest winners get year’s display at City Hall