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Paynesville Press - December 14, 2005

Law enforcement to hold campaign on impaired driving

The Stearns County Sheriff's Department, along with other local agencies including the Paynesville Police Department, will be stepping up enforcement for impaired drivers during this holiday season.

This effort, coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, will run from Friday, Dec. 16, to Saturday, Dec. 31.

Other participating agencies in Stearns County are the Albany, Avon, Kimball, and Melrose police departments.

Historically, the holiday season is one of the deadliest periods on Minnesota roads. Last year, there were 12 traffic deaths and over 600 traffic injuries in Minnesota during the Christmas and New Year's holiday weekends.

In 2004, Stearns County had 20 deaths and 1,214 injuries in motor vehicle crashes.

In November, Stearns County led the state with five fatal motor vehicle crashes. So far in December, there have been two fatal crashes in Stearns County.

While these crashes were caused by a variety of circumstances, drivers are reminded to wear their seatbelts, to drive sober, and to be cautious on winter roadways.

The legal level of blood alcohol concentration was lowered to 0.08 percent in August. Drivers may still be arrested at a lower level if they can determine that alcohol or drugs caused you to make driving errors, especially if you caused a crash.

Local law enforcement officers hope that public awareness and added enforcement help to make the roadways in Stearns County safer for all that use them.

"Please do your part to keep our roads safe and help to ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season," said Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner. "If you choose to drink, don't drive."

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