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Extra DWI enforcement starts this weekend

Minnesota law enforcement officers this weekend are uncorking December-long increased DWI patrols as part of the nationwide effort, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."

County sheriff's offices, municipal agencies and the State Patrol will work overtime hours this month to focus on drunk driving.

December is a potentially deadly month due to holiday celebrations, according to officials from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. In the last three Decembers (2009-2011), 28 people were killed in drunk driving crashes and 7,497 were arrested for DWI.

"Our goal is to ensure families are together for the holidays and no lives are taken due to a drunk driving tragedy," says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. "If there is one gift to give, offer to be a designated driver for a loved one."

A statewide advertising campaign has been launched to remind Minnesotans about the added patrols, and Designated Driver Gift Cards - offering "the gift of a safe lift" - are available at

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

To prevent drunk driving, plan for safe rides. Designate a sober driver, use a cab or other public transportation, or stay at the location of a celebration. Let family and friends know that you are available to offer a safe ride home.

Also, buckle up and wear protective motorcycle gear; these are the best defenses against a drunk driver. When witnessing impaired driving behavior, call 911. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.