​Office of Traffic Safety wraps up holiday DWI campaign, but that’s no excuse to drive impaired​

Jan. 12, 2023​​​​​

It was Thanksgiving Day when a Minnesota State Patrol trooper pulled over a woman for going 22 mph over the speed limit.​

Graphic with snowflakes, the DPS logo and text that says "Driving Sober. The perfect holiday gift. Drive sober, drive smart!"

She had just left a Thanksgiving lunch and was on her way to a Thanksgiving dinner. She also had an open bottle of alcohol under her seat and a blood alcohol concentration of 0.11.

That was just one of the 2,228 DWI arrests during the 2022 holiday extra enforcement DWI campaign, which ran from the day before Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve.

Our Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the campaign using funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Troopers, deputies and police officers across Minnesota join us in doing all we can to make sure everyone can enjoy a safe holiday season.

“When a person is impaired, smart decisions aren't going to happen. Law enforcement saw that repeatedly during the holiday DWI campaign," said OTS director Mike Hanson. “One bad decision can put so many people at risk."

Thankfully, our partners across the state stopped those decisions from further endangering lives.

These are just a few of the arrests made during the campaign:

  • A trooper in Roseau found a 58-year-old man passed out in the driver's seat of a vehicle that was stuck in a snowbank. The man's foot was on the accelerator, the engine was revving at high RPMs and there were open bottles in the vehicle. The man had a 0.21 BAC.

  • Faribault police stopped a 37-year-old male driver for speeding. He was arrested for DWI with a 0.15 BAC. There were five kids in the car under age 15. Four out of the five children were not wearing seat belts. The driver was also cited for driving after revocation and speeding.

  • A Mounds View officer was conducting a traffic stop when a vehicle almost struck his marked squad. The officer then pulled over the vehicle that almost hit his car and the driver was arrested for DWI with a 0.13 BAC.

It was fortunate that none of these incidents led to any injuries, but each could have been incredibly tragic.

While the extra enforcement campaign has come to an end, that doesn't mean now is the time to drive impaired, whether it's from alcohol or any other substance. There are always troopers, deputies and law enforcement officers who are dedicated to keeping the streets safe.

We cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to get behind the wheel when you're impaired. Nearly 1 out of every 3 deaths (31 percent) on Minnesota roads is related to drunk driving. In the last five years, 620 people lost their lives on Minnesota's roads in drunk driving-related incidents.

That means 620 families are dealing with loss, friends are missing their loved ones, and employees are missing their coworkers.

Alcohol-related crashes not only take lives, they change them forever. Even if you survive the crash, you could suffer injuries that will affect how you live the rest of your life. Alcohol-related crashes contribute to an average of 377 life-changing injuries (2017-2021) each year.

That pain is preventable. All you have to do is a little planning.

If you feel different, you drive different, whether it's from alcohol, THC edibles, cold medicine, a prescription or any other drug. Don't get behind the wheel. Designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option or stay at the location of the celebration. Learn more at DriveSmartMN.org​.