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Be safe, not sorry, this New Year’s Eve


Fri, Dec 28th, 2012
Posted in All Features

New Year’s Eve is a time when many people like to go out and celebrate with friends which can be a good time, but can lead to a bad time if you are not responsible. Drunk driving kills many people each year, and in order to save lives the Fillmore County Sherriff’s Department and Minnesota State Patrol will have extra patrols on duty the evening of December 31, 2012.

Plan ahead and have a friend be a designated driver if you think you may be drinking in excess. Even if a person feels as though he or she is sober enough to drive, the alcohol may be diminishing his or her common sense, so step in if you feel a friend may be attempting to drive under the influence. Daryl Jensen, Fillmore County Sherriff, stated that Fillmore County usually has added patrols out on New Year’s Eve and he “encourages people to arrange a Designated Driver or have family members pick them up” if they get in a bind. Sherriff Jenson also said, “Be sure when you get in a vehicle with someone that they are a sober driver,” which is great advice.

According to the website for the Office of Traffic Safety (www.dps.mn.gov), a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, each year in Minnesota over 30,000 people are arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). If your alcohol-concentration level is 0.08 or higher (0.04 in a commercial vehicle) and you are in control of a moving or parked vehicle you can be arrested for DWI.

The cost of a DWI is extreme. It could result in the loss of your driver’s license for a period of one year, possibly thousands of dollars in fines and fees, as well as possible jail time. All alcohol-related loss of driving privileges require a reinstatement fee of several hundred dollars, a DWI knowledge test, a driver’s license application with fee, and chemical health assessment. Each person arrested for DWI will face their own unique punishment, depending on the arrest situation, previous driving violations, and their criminal record.

The Office of Traffic Safely states on its website that “costs of DWI can be as high as $20,000 when factoring court costs, legal fees and increased insurance premiums.” What cannot be measured is the pain that is endured by so many people when a drunk driver causes the death of others due to his or her negligence.

A news release by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety, released on December 27, 2012, stated that “motorists are encourage to plan ahead for a sober ride New Year’s Eve as Minnesota attempts to make it five years in a row with no drunk driving traffic deaths during the holiday.” Sherriff Jenson stated, “We hope for another safe New Years Eve this year.”

Mother always told us it is better to be safe than sorry….listen to mom this New Year’s Eve.

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