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Blog Archive: April 2019

A man in a booking cell with his head in his hands

Unlucky 13: Minnesota’s most dangerous drunk driving counties

April 29

If superstition is to be believed, 13 is a very unlucky number – right up there with black cats and broken mirrors on the list of things to avoid. And it certainly is unlucky for those living in the 13 most dangerous counties for drunk driving in the state. More people have died in drunk driving-related crashes and suffered alcohol-related serious injuries in those counties than in other Minnesota counties. In fact, from 2012 to 2016, 183 people died in drunk driving-related crashes in those 13 counties...

Prescription drug bottles

Get rid of old prescription drugs this Saturday

April 25

What are you up to this weekend? Now that the weather has improved, the possibilities are endless: yard work, long walks, maybe even some spring cleaning. If the latter is on your to-do list, consider participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Why should you get rid of your expired and unused prescription drugs? Reclaiming space in your bathroom cabinet is only the tip of the iceberg. For one thing, you don’t want yourself or a member of your household to overdose accidentally. And if small children live in or visit your house, you’ll want to protect them from accidentally...

Texting+Driving=Illegal. Extra Enforcement Now

Behind the wheel, hands and eyes are for driving

April 22

When you’re driving, there are a lot of things you could be doing with your hands, eyes and brain that take your attention off the road: eating, scratching your dog’s head, getting something out of the glove compartment, texting a friend about tonight’s plans. But you should only be focusing on one thing when you’re behind the wheel, and that’s driving. As of this month, how you interact with your phone behind the wheel was even voted into Minnesota state law, informally referred to as the hands-free cell phone law. Essentially, it requires you to use voice commands or single-touch activation...

A gear washer at a fire station

An appliance that saves lives

April 18

It looks so unassuming, doesn’t it? Not quite as small as the washing machine in your house – more like the industrial-sized ones found in laundromats and hotels. But it certainly doesn’t look like it could save a life. Especially not a firefighter’s. And yet, that’s exactly what it does. Because this washing machine – known to firefighters as a “gear washer” – is specially designed to extract the carcinogens that build up in the turnout gear they wear when they fight fires. Why is that important? Because those carcinogens, also known as toxic combustion byproducts, stick around...

Two teens driving in a car

Move over, screen time: Teen drivers and parents need windshield time

April 15

Just like that, we’re approaching the end of the school year: Proms. Graduations. All kinds of things teens will want to drive to and from. And although it’s nice not to have to be their chauffeur anymore, having a new teen driver in the family carries with it its own set of challenges and fears. After all, the data show that the same qualities that may make your teen challenging to live with – being easily distracted, giving in to peer pressure, and taking risks you’d never dream of – combine with inexperience...

A woman speaking with a law enforcement officer

If you're a crime victim, do you know your rights?

April 11

There’s no doubt about it: Being the victim of a crime can be traumatic. Not only are you dealing with grief and loss in the wake of a crime perpetrated against you, it might also feel as if you suddenly have to be an expert on the criminal justice system. It can be daunting and discouraging. Fortunately, the Crime Victim Justice Unit (CVJU) is in your corner. A part of the Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs, the CVJU exists to make sure that, as a crime victim, you are treated appropriately and your statutory rights are upheld...

A utility locating technician takes measurements while competing in the Minnesota Locate Rodeo

Ride 'em, utility locating technician

April 8

Every once in a while you meet someone, find out what they do for a living, and think, “Huh. I suppose SOMEONE has to do that … and I’m glad someone does!” Utility locating technicians get that a lot. Simply put, they’re the people who put those little flags in the ground so that gas, sewer, and all other manner of other underground utility lines don’t get broken during digging for activities like construction and road repair. Utility locating is a highly specialized skill – so much so that pipeline companies and their personnel are required by federal law to meet once a year to learn about...

Minnesota Sports Squares cards

The Final Four is exciting enough without gambling

April 4

There’s no doubt about it: The Final Four is incredibly exciting. And it’s tempting to spice it up even more by betting on the outcome. But it’s important to remember that organized sports gambling is illegal in Minnesota. Think of it as a triangle: If you’re risking something of value, it’s a chance-based outcome, and there are prizes to be awarded, it’s betting, and it’s illegal. Placing a wager is a misdemeanor; receiving wagers is a gross misdemeanor or felony, depending on the amount. And establishments need to remember that whether they’re participating in the gambling...

Don't pass on a ride. Make a sober game plan.

Final Four: The best defense is a sober ride

April 1

No matter how your NCAA bracket turned out, you’re probably pretty excited for the Final Four – and you’re not the only one. An estimated 94,000 nonresident visitors will be coming to the Twin Cities for Final Four weekend, which could make being a driver, passenger, or pedestrian on the roads a little dicey – even if everyone were sober. So to stay safe while you’re out having fun Final Four weekend, make sure you have a game plan. The Minnesota State Patrol will be conducting extra DWI enforcement for the metro area on April 5-8, so be sure to plan ahead...