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Local law to participate in extra Super Bowl safe and sober patrols

ST. PAUL -- Traffic safety officials are urging armchair quarterbacks to make the right call on Super Bowl Sunday to avoid driving impaired.

During Super Bowl weekends from 2006 to 2008, alcohol-related crashes accounted for five of the seven motorists killed in Minnesota, and law enforcement arrested 1,470 motorists for driving while impaired, according to information from the state Department of Public Safety. This weekend there will be enhanced DWI enforcement patrols in place in select counties across the metro and in Greater Minnesota.

Local agencies participating in the patrols include the Benson, Atwater and Willmar police departments and the Kandiyohi County and Swift County sheriff's offices, according to Officer Marilee Dorn, community policing officer for the Willmar Police Department.

Super Bowl party-goers are urged to make plans before the party begins, according to a news release from the local agencies. If you're hosting a party, huddle with your guests before kickoff. Make the call to be sure everyone has a safe ride home after the game.

You will need to bench anyone who drinks and doesn't have a sober ride home -- they get the penalty couch. Hosts have responsibilities -- legal and moral -- to prevent their guests from driving when impaired.

"A designated driver should be everyone's number-one draft pick on Super Bowl Sunday," says Cheri Marti, director of the state's Office of Traffic Safety. "Prior to the coin toss, huddle with guests to determine the game plan is for a safe ride."

Each year in Minnesota around 200 people are killed in alcohol-related crashes, 3,000 suffer serious, life-altering injuries and more than 36,000 are arrested for DWI. More than 500,000 Minnesotans have been arrested for DWI -- one in eight with a driver's license.

A DWI arrest can cost up to $20,000 when factoring in legal costs and increased insurance premiums.