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Published January 02, 2013, 09:21 AM

Fargo DUIs down nearly 10 percent in 2012

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Drunken driving arrests in North Dakota's largest city dropped nearly 10 percent last year after a record 2011.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Drunken driving arrests in North Dakota's largest city dropped nearly 10 percent last year after a record 2011.

Preliminary data show officers made 1,019 arrests for driving under the influence last year, down from a record 1,127 the previous year, Fargo Police Lt. Joel Vettel told The Forum newspaper.

Police did not make any major changes in DUI enforcement over the year but continued to use efforts such as saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints, while trying to educate people about the dangers of drinking and driving, Vettel said.

"We want to be consistent in trying to approach this from multiple directions," he said.

The Fargo force will support a proposal in the upcoming Legislature to toughen North Dakota's DUI laws, Vettel said.

The proposal unveiled by supporters last month would make North Dakota one of 15 states to require jail time for first-time DUI offenders. It also would increase fines and penalties for repeat offenders. The legislation was prompted by a crash last July on Interstate 94 near Jamestown that killed three members of a West Fargo family, and also the driver of the pickup truck that crashed head-on into their vehicle. Authorities say the pickup driver was drunk and driving the wrong way on the interstate.

"We're very confident that something will get done from within the legislation this year," Vettel said.

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