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It’s very simple — don’t drink and drive

Law enforcement officers across the state are in the middle of a stepped up enforcement to crack down on drunken driving.

The campaign, coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety, runs through Sept. 1.

In the past three years, 279 people across the state have lost their lives in drunken driving crashes. Eighty-one were killed in 2013 alone, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Beyond the fatalities, 2,300 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related crashes last year.

In 2013, 25,719 motorists — an average of 70 per day —were arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Otter Tail County residents have not been excluded from these statistics.

Even if you don’t cause any injury to yourself or others, remember the consequences a driving while intoxicated charge can bring to your life.

You can lose your license for up to a year, have to spend thousands of dollars in costs and experience possible jail time.

Some people even have to have an ignition interlock installed to ensure they are driving legally.

One in seven Minnesotans has a DWI conviction on their record.

Plan ahead!

Always plan for a safe ride if you know you are going to be drinking. Designate a sober driver, use a cab or stay at the location of the celebration. Always wear your seat belt, and call 911 if you witness impaired driving behavior.

Don’t become a statistic. — Fergus Falls Daily Journal