|National Highway Traffic Safety Administration|
RACINE COUNTY — The Racine County Sheriff’s Office has reported an increase in the number of drunken-driving arrests made by deputies in 2017.
While many people plan to hit the town celebrating the new year this weekend, the Sheriff’s Office is reminding area drivers to drive safe and sober.
“The choice to drive while impaired can have tragic and lasting consequences,” Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.
Since Jan. 1, the Sheriff’s Office has made 325 operating while intoxicated arrests, according to information released Friday.
That is a 12.8 percent increase from the 288 OWI arrests made in 2016, and a 21.7 increase from the 267 OWI arrests made by the Sheriff’s Office in 2015.
Combined with the nine other Racine County law enforcement agencies, the Sheriff’s Office estimates that approximately 750 OWI arrests will have been made in the county in 2017.
The Sheriff’s Office continues to take an aggressive stance toward keeping our streets safe, Schmaling said. New Year’s weekend will be no different.
Residents and visitors should enjoy Racine County establishments in a safe and responsible manner, Schmaling said. The Sheriff’s Office suggests the following tips to travel safely during New Year’s weekend:
Plan ahead — If planning to drink while out, make an advance plan with a sober designated driver or make arrangements for other forms of transportation, such as a taxi, Uber, Lyft or SafeRide.
Be responsible — If hosting a gathering, offer guests plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and don’t let impaired guests get behind the wheel.
Buckle up and drive defensively — “Every trip, every time,” Schmaling said.
“Please be safe and smart. Use good common sense, know your limits and plan ahead,” Schmaling said. “If you’re driving impaired, you will be arrested.”
There will be extra enforcement patrols by the Racine County Sheriff’s Office on the roads this week, and the Sheriff’s Office encourages drivers to accept their role in keeping their families and roads safer.
Those hitting the road this weekend are urged to immediately report dangerous and impaired drivers by calling 911.
“Let’s wrap up 2017 safely,” Schmaling said. “Collectively, we can bring in the new year with no alcohol or drug-related crashes.”