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Editorial: Don’t risk it — today or any day

The Albert Lea Police Department, Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement officers across the state will be out in full force today on what is the second leading holiday for drunken driving arrests statewide. 

The increased enforcement is part of the statewide Toward Zero Deaths program.

According to the Police Department, there are 4.6 arrests per hour statewide on St. Patrick’s Day, which is slightly lower than the top holiday — Labor Day — when there are 4.9 arrests per hour. The arrests are higher if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekend, which is the case this year.

The following number of people were arrested for driving while intoxicated in the last six years in Minnesota:

• 2012: 346

• 2013: 227

• 2014: 105

• 2015: 134

• 2016: 189

We encourage people who wish to drink to plan for a safe ride. Designate a sober driver, call a cab or stay at the lcoation of your celebration.

If you’re not planning to drink, offer to be a designated driver for a loved one. Always wear your seat belts, and report any impaired drivers to authorities.

Drunken driving-related deaths account for one-fourth of all traffic fatalities in Minnesota. Each year, about 27,000 people are arrested for driving while intoxicated in the state.

Don’t add to these numbers. Plan ahead for a safe holiday.