Area law enforcement set to begin drunk driving campaign - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Area law enforcement set to begin drunk driving campaign

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Area law enforcement are teaming up for a new federal study aiming to reduce drunk driving in La Crosse County.

Eight agencies have come together to form a task force that will patrol three major roadways beginning Thursday and on three more occasions later this summer.

Their goal is to dedicate officers specifically to enforcing drunk driving laws on peak-traffic days - July 3, August 31, and September 1. 

The roads are Highway 16, Highway 53 and Interstate 90, all of which see heavy traffic, and increased numbers of intoxicated driving complaints.

The study is federally funded. The Sheriff's Department said it received $4,700 for the four-month period to cover the costs of overtime and a new wireless radio.

Sergeant Marte Peterson of the Sheriff's Department will patrol between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Thursday. He said the study will allow the Sheriff's Department to free up personnel that are busy enforcing other traffic violations to focus more on intoxicated drivers.

"With having this many people out and about as extra enforcement," he said, "we can free that car up. They don't go to calls when they're working the grant, they just handle strictly traffic. This hopefully will help alleviate some of the driving complaints we're having."

A second study is in the planning stages, and would likely occur between October and September 2015.

Participating agencies include: the Bureau of Transportation Safety, La Crosse County Health Education, La Crosse County Sheriff's Department, La Crosse Police Department, Onalaska Police Department, Holmen Police Department, Bangor Police Department, and UW-L Police Department.

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