Local agencies announced Thursday they are reintroducing the Capital Area OWI Task Force annual program to reduce impaired driving.
The program consists of 17 Dane County police departments that have banded together to reduce the rate of alcohol-related crashes in the Dane County area.
The task force will make it a priority to have a highly visible presence throughout the county during the late hours of the weekend. The 17 police departments will use their combined resources to serve the greater Dane County area and their individual communities as well.
Not only will the task force actively search for drunk drivers, but they will also implement many preemptive measures. The goal is to reduce the number of crashes by creating awareness about the consequences of drunk driving.
One creative way to bring attention to the program is the Deforest Police Department’s “Choose Your Ride” vehicle. The vehicle is a retrofitted squad car that is half-police vehicle and half-taxi.
The message they want to share is that riding a taxi is a much smarter alternative than riding in the back of a squad car. The "Choose Your Ride" vehicle will also tour around the county throughout the year to attend public events.
The reintroduction of the program comes after an alcohol-related crash last Friday. The driver was driving on the wrong side of a divided highway and crashed into traffic, according to the Madison Police Department.
There were no reports of injuries but this is the sixth OWI since the new year has begun, according to the MPD incident reports website.
Madison is not the only city in Wisconsin that has a drunk driving problem. The state of Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the nation, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transit.