State, nation launch ‘Drive Sober’ enforcement campaign

A statewide DWI enforcement campaign, from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3, is underscored by 2011 statistics showing 68 percent of deaths in drunk driving crashes involved drivers that had alcohol concentrations twice the 0.08 legal limit.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety, and it’s also being conducted nationally.

The Chisago County Toward Zero Death’s partnership — consisting of the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Lakes Area, North Branch and Wyoming police departments — is out on the roads through Sept. 3.

These efforts are geared toward impaired driving offenders, and hope to push Chisago County and the state of Minnesota TOWARD that ZERO DEATHS goal. After Labor Day weekend the partnership will report the results of its enhanced enforcement efforts.

DWI consequences

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.

Repeat DWI offenders and first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Each year in Minnesota, 40 percent of the alcohol-related traffic deaths involve repeat offenders.

Tips to prevent drunk driving

• Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. Let family/friends know you are available to offer a safe ride home.

• Buckle up and wear protective motorcycle gear — the best defenses against a drunk driver.

• Report drunk driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

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