Thinking about zipping through Alexandria a little faster to get to the lake over the Fourth of July holiday?

Don't press your luck.

Drivers will face a speed enforcement crackdown in Alexandria throughout July.

Enhanced enforcement patrols will be in place as part of the "Safe and Sober" effort.

Officers say the goal is to save lives.

Over the last three years, 2006-2008, speed was a contributing factor in seven fatalities in Douglas County and nearly 400 deaths statewide.

Speed is the most commonly reported factor in fatal crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Speed contributes to about 150 traffic deaths and 7,000 injuries each year in Minnesota, according to DPS officials.

Last year, the Alexandria Police Department issued 373 speeding citations.

"Speeding motorists are a serious threat to everyone on the road," said Sergeant Kevin Guenther of the Alexandria Police Department. "When speed increases, so does the chance for a violent crash."

Besides risking lives, speeding can also put a dent in your budget.

In Alexandria, getting a ticket for driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit typically can cost $125. And enough tickets can lead to higher insurance costs.

Guenther said that with the warm weather, comes an increase in speeding behavior, an important reminder to motorists in the heart of the summer driving season - and the deadliest time on Minnesota roads.

Guenther noted that increased speed does not save much travel time. Instead, "your chances of being involved in a crash greatly increase as speed increases," he said.

Traveling at 55 miles per hour instead of 45 miles per hour for a 10-mile trip will only save about two and a half minutes of travel time.

In Minnesota, speeding fines are doubled if a motorist is caught speeding 20 miles or more over the limit, and drivers traveling at speeds of 100 miles per hour or more are subject to a six-month license revocation.

Drivers should also be mindful of Minnesota's new "primary" seat belt law that took effect June 9. It allows law enforcement officers to pull drivers over for no other reason than not buckling up. Passengers are also required to wear a seat belt.

The Safe and Sober effort is coordinated by the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. The campaign is a component of the state's "Toward Zero Death" (TZD) initiative. TZD is a multi-agency approach to address traffic issues regionally through enforcement, education, engineering and emergency trauma care and response.