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Insight from WFPD: Designate a responsible driver

For many Americans, St. Patrick's Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, due to the large number of drunk drivers, the night out has also become very dangerous.

On St. Patrick's Day in 2008, 37 percent of the drivers and motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes across the nation had an alcohol concentration level above the legal limit, according to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2009, there were 140 fatalities on North Dakota roadways and 55 of these fatalities were alcohol-related. In an effort to continue decreasing alcohol-related crashes, law enforcement agencies across North Dakota are determined to get drunk drivers off the roads by educating everyone on the dangers of drinking and driving.

Alcohol-related deaths are 100 percent preventable. In addition, wearing a seat belt will save a person's life and decrease the severity of injury the vast majority of the time. Make smart decisions. Remember to buckle up - every trip, every time and choose not to drink and drive.

The West Fargo Police Department recommends these simple tips for a safe St. Patrick's Day:

*Always have a plan.

*Designate a sober driver or call a cab.

*Take the keys from someone who has been drinking.

*If you're impaired, and haven't designated a sober driver, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member so you are sure to get home safely.

*If you are hosting a party, be responsible and provide safe rides home for those who have been drinking and provide non-alcoholic beverages to designated drivers.

*If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don't hesitate to contact your local law enforcement at 701-433-5500 or by calling 911.

Additional officers will be on patrol March 16 to March 21 in West Fargo with their focus on detecting impaired drivers. Funding for the program is provided through the N.D. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Traffic Safety Fund.