Law enforcement on alert this holiday season

Law enforcement officers across South Dakota are asking holiday party goers to plan ahead for a safe ride home or face a drunk-driving stop and arrest.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol, along with numerous local police and sheriffs' departments, will be on high alert for drunk drivers during the holiday season. The state effort mirrors a national holiday campaign, "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest."

"No one wants to have their holiday ruined by a drunk driving arrest," says Col. Dan Mosteller, Superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol. "Here's a simple way to make sure that doesn't happen to you. Just don't drink and drive."

If you plan on drinking during the holiday season, make sure you designate a sober driver before you go out. If you've been drinking, call a cab, use mass transit or reach out to a sober friend or family member to get you safely home.

"Injuries and deaths from traffic crashes are horrible at any time, but if they happen during the holidays, they forever mar future celebrations of what should be a happy time," says James Carpenter, director of the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety. "People can make sure that doesn't happen with a few simple actions. Wear a seatbelt. Pay attention to speed limits. Don't drive if you've been drinking."

Last year in South Dakota, five people died in traffic crashes during the Christmas — New Year's holidays. Three of those five fatalities involved alcohol. So far this year South Dakota has had 108 highway fatalities, and nearly 40 percent happened in alcohol-related crashes.

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