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State Patrol: To avoid a DWI or a crash, designate before you celebrate

MADISON -- While no one really knows what the new year will bring, everyone can take steps to make sure 2013 doesn't start with a drunk-driving arrest or crash.

To crackdown on drunken driving on New Year's Eve, the Wisconsin State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin will be stepping up their patrols.

"Drunken driving is a serious offense, and law enforcement officers don't give warnings or second chances to drivers who are impaired," says State Patrol Maj. Sandra Huxtable, director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Safety. "There were approximately 35,000 convictions for drunken driving in 2011, and for approximately two out of three of those drunken drivers it was their first conviction."

The expense, hassle, embarrassment and possible jail time for a drunken driving arrest are not the worst things that can happen if you drive while impaired. On average, someone is killed or injured in an alcohol-related crash about every 2-1/2 hours in Wisconsin.

Instead of risking an arrest for drunken driving on New Year's Eve or even worse--killing or injuring yourself or someone else--the Wisconsin State Patrol offers the following suggestions:

--Before you start partying, choose a sober designated driver.

--If you're feeling buzzed, you probably are over the 0.08 (alcohol concentration) limit and should not drive.

--Take mass transit, a taxicab or ask a sober friend to drive you home.

--Don't allow friends to drive drunk no matter how much they protest.

--Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons with a safe ride home.