Stings net drunk drivers, speeders, seatbelt violatorsThe number of drunk driving charges issued in the city of Superior rose sharply this year.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The number of drunk driving charges issued in the city of Superior rose sharply this year.
According to the city crash report, police handled 70 operating while intoxicated cases in the first quarter of the year compared to 49 in the first quarter of 2011.
The numbers don’t indicate an increase in drunk drivers, according to Traffic Sgt. Mark McGillis with the Superior Police Department. It shows that police are catching more of them.
“It’s certainly increased, probably significantly, due to increased enforcement,” McGillis said.
That isn’t likely to change soon. The department, along with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state, will be cracking down on drunk driving from now through Labor Day as part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Drivers should be aware that traffic on highways and streets will be monitored closely from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3, McGillis said. It’s a matter of safety.
New National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research indicates the 10,228 alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2010 accounted for nearly one out of every three highway deaths on U.S. roads — the equivalent of one death every 51 minutes, according to the administration’s website. During the same time period, more than two thirds of drunk driving deaths involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher, the administration found. Overall, the most frequently recorded BAC among drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes was .18 BAC.
In Superior, police have received grants to increase traffic enforcement for seat belt use and speeding/pedestrian safety. McGillis said the efforts have resulted in a lot of speeding tickets and seat belt citations. Even with the high visibility seat belt enforcement — which includes signs and officers dressed in bright yellow vests — many tickets have been issued.
“People are still not buckling up,” McGillis said.
With school starting in the Superior school district Sept. 4, pedestrian safety could become an even bigger issue. McGillis cautioned drivers to be careful, watch where they’re going and keep their eyes on the road.
“Put your cell phone down,” he said.
Traffic enforcement has stepped up countywide, as well. On Aug. 10, a multi-agency criminal interdiction operation was conducted within Douglas County and the U.S. Highway 2 corridor within Ashland and Bayfield counties. The effort resulted in 111 contacts, 38 citations and 7 arrests, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
Agencies that participated in the operation included the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Superior Police Department, Washburn County Sheriff’s Department, Spooner Police Department, Solon Springs Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol and the Northwest Area Crime Unit Task Force.