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Students help promote Safe & Sober

Detroit Lakes students, back from left, Kayla Lang, Kayla Buermann, Chelsea Edwards, Sarah Siewert and Bryan Lee helped Detroit Lakes police officer Sgt. Robert Strand, front left, and Becker County Sheriff's Office Deputy Shane Richards with the December-long Safe &?Sober campaign by making public service announcements that aired on local radio stations.

Audubon, Callaway-Ogema, Detroit Lakes, Frazee and Lake Park police departments, along with the Becker County Sheriff's Office, arrested 13 impaired drivers during the Department of Public Safety's December-long Safe & Sober impaired driving enforcement campaign.

Around 400 Minnesota law enforcement agencies participated in the effort. There are 505,152 Minnesotans who have a DWI on record, meaning one in eight Minnesotans with a driver's record has a DWI.

When you drink and drive, you are gambling on your future and public safety. No matter how many times you've driven impaired and made it home, one mistake can change your life forever. Depending on a variety of variables, a first-time DWI arrest can lead to a loss of license for 90 days. When factoring in increased insurance costs, legal and other fees, the expense of a DWI can cost up to nearly $20,000.

On Minnesota roads, 2005-07, alcohol-related crashes accounted for 553 traffic deaths and 1,253 serious injuries. During that same period, 117,764 motorists were arrested for DWI.

In Becker County, during 2005-07, there were eight impaired driving deaths, 53 serious injuries and 383 DWIs. The local economic impact of alcohol-related fatalities was $9.3 million.

During the campaign, two seat belt citations were issued. DPS 2005-07 data reports 71 percent of statewide impaired drivers and their passengers were not wearing seat belts.

During this waive, law enforcement paired up with Detroit Lakes High School's TARGET group for the public safety announcements. TARGET is sponsored by the Minnesota High School League and consists of high school kids that have pledged to remain drug and alcohol free.

The public service announcements were aired on KDLM and KRCQ throughout the month of December. Officers worked an extra 104 hours throughout the month of December. IN those 104 hours, 155 vehicles were stopped, three DWI arrests were made and two seatbelt citations were issued.