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Paynesville Press - August 17, 2005

Two-week impaired driving campaign runs thru Labor Day

Touching fingers to noses, standing on one leg, and walking a straight line will be popular roadside activities between Friday, Aug. 19, and Monday, Sept. 5, when the Paynesville Police Department targets impaired driving during a Safe & Sober campaign.

The statewide mobilization of more than 430 law enforcement agencies will be the state's first coordinated enforcement effort since the 0.08-blood-alcohol concentration level became effective in August.

In 2004, there were six alcohol-related deaths and 120 alcohol-related crashes in Stearns County. The economic impact of these incidents cost Stearns County $9.1 million.

"Practicing for a roadside sobriety test is not the way to avoid a DWI," said officer Chuck Buggs. "Impaired drivers cause too many tragedies, and we intend to take them off the road with this effort."

Minnesota was the last state in the union to enforce the 0.08 limit. In other states, the 0.08 law has been a factor in decreasing alcohol-related crashes, deaths, and severe injuries, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which is coordinating the statewide campaign. The Paynesvi

lle Police Depart-ment reminds motorists the safest solution is to have a plan before imbibing: using alternative transportation; designating a sober driver; calling for a cab or a friend; taking the bus; or staying the night at the location of the celebration.

Safe & Sober is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The program is designed to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries.

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