Don’t wassail and drive

If you intend to celebrate the holidays using alcohol while away from home, plan ahead for a safe and sober ride home, the Minnesota Patrol advises.

Law enforcement agencies around the state are beefing up their enforcement of drunken-driving laws in December.

The State Patrol, with the help of about 400 state police officers and deputies, will patrol the highways with the goal of keeping drunken drivers off the road.

“We all need to work together to make a strong traffic-safety culture in Minnesota,” State Patrol information officer Sgt. Curt Mowers said. “One way to do that is to make impaired driving socially unacceptable.”

Holiday parties and special local events in regions around the state will be targeted. Specific dates and times for the project will be ongoing during the month of December, Mowers said.

In 2011, Minnesota recorded 136 alcohol-related traffic deaths — accounting for 37 percent of all traffic deaths. Overall, males and young adults are overrepresented in alcohol-related crashes and account for a disproportionate share of fatalities. Along with the risk of injuries and deaths, penalties for drunken driving can include fines of hundreds or thousands of dollars and loss of driver license, license plates and even your vehicle.