Published: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 --- 6:50 p.m.
Approximately one-third of traffic fatalities involve alcohol. That's why drivers may see 'OWI task force' signs up around the east side of Madison Saturday night, warning them, there will be consequences for driving drunk.
The effort brings together nine different police departments in Dane Co., plus the Wis. State Patrol. Each jurisdiction that's participating gets one OWI task force deployment through the end of the fiscal year. The idea is that by using agencies that residents don't recognize, it will spread awareness about this state-wide problem.
"Social media explodes when people start talking about why is Deforest in Stoughton," said Lt. Daniel Furseth with the Deforest Police Dept. "And why are they making a traffic stop in Stoughton, why are they running field sobriety tests on somebody in Stoughton, things like that. So that's what gets people talking. It makes people call for rides if they've had too much, or just make that decision not to drink and drive."
The deployments began this June, and will finish up within the next couple of weeks with one in McFarland and then Verona.
Law enforcement are hoping to get more funding and more communities involved next year, so the program can continue and reach more people, especially in rural areas.