Police are watching for drunk drivers this weekend

Posted at 9:58 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 23:14:54-04

The unofficial end to summer is predicted to be a deadly weekend on the roads. Local law enforcement calls Labor Day one of the top five drinking weekends.

Warm weather and low gas prices already have analysts predicting record numbers of travelers on the road. The concern is not all the travelers will be driving sober. 

"It's the opening of college football this weekend, Badgers game is on Saturday afternoon, lots of home parties going on and we want to make sure people either stay home or drive home safely," said Lt. Gary Gabrish, Wauwatosa Police Department.

The beginning of the holiday weekend has the Southeastern Wisconsin OWI Task Force starting early looking for impaired drivers.

One of the first drivers pulled over did not belong on the road, but not because they were impaired.

"She had a suspended license and her plates are expired," said Wauwatosa Police Patrol Special Corey Wex.

According to Wex, most assume the early evening hours are the only times you have to worry about drunk drivers, but he also finds the morning after can be just as bad, especially on a holiday weekend.

"What a lot of people don't realize is that just because you passed out for five hours from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and now you are trying to drive to Grandma's house for brunch the next of whatever, you are still intoxicated," said Wex.

Even though the number of OWI arrests are down, the OWI Task Force says the number of deaths from drunk driving crashes in Wisconsin are climbing.

Just for this weekend alone, the National Safety Council expects more than 400 people in the country to die on the roads in crashes. Wex says besides choosing a designated driver, there is a simple thing you can do to help save your life in a crash.

"Any reason you aren't wearing your seat belt?" asked Wex as he talked to a driver later ticketed for speeding.

Not one person he pulled over Friday night while TODAY'S TMJ4 rode along had on a seatbelt.