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Editorial: Do your part to keep our roads safe this summer

Drinking and driving is never a good idea. It can end in tragedy and has in many cases. There are also consequences.

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.

Repeat DWI 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, according to the Department of Public Safety. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years or they will never regain driving privileges.

The Department of Public Safety offers ways to prevent drunk driving if you choose to drink alcohol.

n Plan for a safe ride – designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.

n Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.

n Buckle up – the best defense against a drunk driver.

n Report drunk driving – call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

Minnesota State Trooper Curtis Mowers says that following the vehicle until an officer locates the vehicle could also be helpful but it’s not necessary.

“I don’t think our dispatchers are asking people to do that, but I do know that people are sometimes coincidentally going the same direction that the suspected impaired driver is, so they stay on the line or they call back when the vehicle turns or if there is some other information to update the police on,” he said in a recent news release. “We need everyone to be our eyes and ears out there on the roadways, so we appreciate accurate information being called in.

“You want to stay back and away from the suspected impaired driver’s vehicle and be safe. It always helps to know where you are when you are driving so that when you call in a driving complaint or crash or some other incident, we can go directly to the correct location. Many times we get the wrong location because callers don’t know exactly where they are.”

We all have to take our own personal responsibility behind the wheel, Mowers said, and part of that responsibility is reporting impaired drivers and other dangerous drivers.

Do your part to prevent tragedy by being a sober driver and reporting those suspected of drunk driving.