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In the forecast: a winter blast of extra DWI patrols

The Alexandria Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota State Patrol will increase drunk driving enforcement during a statewide and nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI enforcement effort in December. The campaign is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

In Douglas County, 2009-2011, drunk driving crashes accounted for two deaths and six serious injuries. During this same period, 711 motorists were arrested for DWI.

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

Repeat DWI offenders, as well as 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.


• 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, the best defense 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.