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Law enforcement agencies want sober driving both on land and water this weekend


OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin DNR and State Patrol are joining forces to urge all drivers and boaters to remain sober this 4th of July weekend.

It's part of their "Where the Rudder Meets the Road" initiative. 

"We anticipate a busy boating weekend...we're going to be looking for equipment violations, operators that are impaired," says Winnebago County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Brewer. "Have a good time, however, if you are consuming any kind of alcoholic beverages, we do recommend you have a designated driver."

Brewer adds that they will have enforcement stepped up on Lake Winnebago and along the Fox and Wolf rivers this holiday weekend.

Department of Natural Resources Marine Unit Supervisor Chris Groth says it isn't just the booze that can cause problems for boaters.

"People get themselves into trouble in fast water situations and we've already had a couple of those in the Northeast region already this year," says Groth. "So people need to be aware that water conditions are drastically different than from a normal summer."

Groth encourages people to make sure their lights and equipment are working before they head out on the water, and urges everyone to wear a life jacket. 

"If everybody wore a life jacket, that probably would save them," said Groth.

But law enforcement statewide say it begins on the roads and highways, which has the Wisconsin State Patrol standing on guard this July 4th weekend.

"Traffic starting on Thursday is going to be very, very heavy, so we typically see an uptick in both traffic fatals and crashes simply because of the amount of volume over that time period," says Mike Panosh with the Bureau of Transportation Safety. 

Other driver recommendations from law enforcement are to buckle up and slow down, especially in construction zones throughout Wisconsin.