Extra Patrols on the Water this Weekend - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Extra Patrols on the Water this Weekend

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A busy weekend on the roads is upon us. Many people are kicking off the Fourth of July holiday early by heading out of town.

Local law enforcement say they'll be looking for drunk drivers.

Valley News Team's Hope Hanselman has what you need to know to stay safe and avoid trouble.

"The holiday weekend, the way it falls in the middle of the week, can be up to 10 days long now with Friday through the following Monday morning," Sergeant Troy Hischer, of the North Dakota State Patrol, said.

A mid-week celebration of independence means a long week on duty for these state troopers.

"Let's maintain as many people as we can on the highways; that's what our goal is. But when it's a major weekend, we do try to keep as many people as we can on the highways."

But, drunk driving enforcement could be a bit quieter in town. Roadways aren't the only trouble spots.

"A lot of people, depending on the weather, they'll vacate Fargo-Moorhead, if it's really nice. They'll head out to the lakes and we won't see them until Sunday night," Hischer said.

You'll find the busiest crews over the weekend on the water.

"During the Fourth of July, there's a lot of people out on the lakes and some of our main concerns are the alcohol in the boats and the operators on the boats," Cody Bouchie, Becker County Sheriff's Deputy of Boats and Water, said.

Deputies say they see more drunk boating activity during this weekend and those impaired drivers can cause more danger.

"The difference with operating a boat is you can't stop, you don't have any brakes," Bouchie said. "You're basically coasting to a stop, you're basically drifting to shore until somebody comes to your rescue."

So whether you chose water or pavement, the limit is the same for drunk drivers.

"You should always use a designated driver. Prepare for that. Plan for it," Hischer said.

Cruise above 0.08 BAC and you're not doing much celebrating in the back of a squad car.

"When we say sober, we mean no alcohol at all."

Beginning Monday, North Dakota's DUI laws change, with stiffer penalties.

Drunk drivers who kill another person could face a felony charge and up to 20 years in Prison.

That's because troopers say they see so many deaths every year. So far this year, 25 people have been killed by drunk drivers in North Dakota alone.




As you head to the lake to enjoy the beautiful weekend weather, authorities are sending out a clear message: Booze and boats don't mix.

It is well-known that alcohol and drugs impair judgment, but mix that with sun, noise and waves and authorities say it could be deadly on the water.

The DNR, Sheriff's Departments and the Coast Guard will be out in full force this weekend and next week leading up to the 4th of July. They'll specifically be looking for people who are boating under the influence.

"The penalties are exactly the same, it effects your driving record," Explains Capt. Greg Salo with the Minnesota DNR. "It's a big education push, we'll be out there in force with a lot of our partners to work boating enforcement and particularly look for people who are boating while they're impaired."

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is against the law. Boaters caught operating under the influence will get their boat impounded. In addition, they could be fined or arrested, and could lose their boating privileges.

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