Monday, December 15, 2014

UW-Eau Claire Police join 'Booze and Belts' campaign

To increase safety-belt use and help reduce drunken driving, UW-Eau Claire Police have mobilized for the statewide "Booze and Belts" campaign from Dec. 12-20.

"Deaths and injuries in traffic crashes are especially tragic for families this time of year, so our officers will be out in force during the 'Booze and Belts' mobilization looking for unbuckled and impaired motorists," said Sgt. Joel Field of the
UW-Eau Claire Police.

High-visibility law enforcement mobilizations, like "Booze and Belts," are helping save lives and reduce injuries.

In the past 10 years, fatalities from alcohol-related crashes dropped from 348 in 2003 to 185 in 2013, which is a 47 percent reduction. Injuries from alcohol-related crashes dropped from 6,445 in 2003 to 2,660 in 2013, which is a 59 percent reduction. In addition, seat belt use in Wisconsin is at an all-time high with nearly 85 percent of drivers and passengers buckling up, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

"We're making progress toward the goal of zero preventable traffic deaths in Wisconsin, but far too many people are still needlessly killed or injured in traffic crashes," Field said.

"We are striving for voluntary compliance with traffic laws, so we urge you to make the responsible decision to buckle up and drive sober. But if you make an irresponsible decision, we will stop you and we won’t give you a warning or a second chance."

The Center for Alcohol Studies and Education will support the "Booze and Belts" efforts with educational messages across campus reminding students that the holidays are a high-risk time for accidents involving an impaired driver.

CASE peer educators are working to spread the message to students that keeping yourself and friends safe is as easy as planning ahead, using a taxi or public transportation to get home, or calling a sober friend or family member for a ride.

At UW-Eau Claire, surveys indicate that most students make the right choice and avoid driving after drinking. In 2014, 15 percent of students reported driving after drinking in the past year.

For more information, contact Sgt. Joel Field at 715-836-2222 or