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West central Minn. law officers arrest 28 for drunken driving in December

WILLMAR — Officers from west central Minnesota law enforcement agencies arrested 28 drivers for driving while impaired during the month of December.

The arrests were made during a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI campaign that ran statewide for the month to combat drunk driving. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinated the campaign.

“DWI patrols are effective to reducing drunken driving activity, but it is clear that the issue remains a real problem that puts our roads in danger,” says Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog. “To make progress and limit the tragedies that drunken driving causes, we need to take the simple, preventable steps, and step one is to always plan ahead for a sober ride.”

The local agencies participating in the campaign included the Kandiyohi and Swift county sheriff’s offices along with the police departments from Willmar, Atwater and Benson.

According to statewide statistics released Thursday by the DPS, preliminary numbers for 2012 show that 26,628 motorists were arrested for driving while impaired. There were 29,918 DWI arrests in 2011. The preliminary DWI arrest count will grow as alcohol-concentration data is finalized.

The local law agencies remind that the consequences of a drunken driving conviction include the possibility of losing your license for a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time. Repeat offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.