ST. PAUL — An 18-day statewide enhanced DWI enforcement effort, August 19–September 5, resulted in the arrest of 1,787 motorists. Preliminary DWI arrest totals were reported to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety by 295 law enforcement agencies.
Consequences for a DWI include loss of license for up to a year, up to $20,000 in legal costs, heightened insurance rates, and possible jail time. Effective July 1 this year, all DWI repeat offenders — as well as first-time offenders with an alcohol-concentration limit twice the legal limit — are required to have ignition interlock for at least one year in order to have driving privileges restored.
“Despite reaching a low point in alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2010, many motorists are failing to consider others’ safety by driving impaired,” says Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. “Those who make this poor decision will face serious consequences. Don’t risk it.”
The State Patrol reported 326 DWIs during the effort. In the metro, St. Paul Police Department reported 97 arrests, followed by Roseville P.D. (34); Bloomington P.D. (32); White Bear Lake P.D. (28); Eden Prairie P.D. (25); Minneapolis P.D. (24); and Brooklyn Park P.D. and Edina P.D. at 19 each.
In greater Minnesota — where 77 percent of the alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2010 occurred — Rochester P.D. arrested 38, followed by Duluth P.D. and Beltrami Sheriff at 22 each; Moorhead P.D. (19); St. Cloud P.D. (19); Mankato Public Safety (14); and Olmsted Sheriff (14).
DPS reports enhanced DWI enforcement and education campaigns have factored in a continuing drop of alcohol-related deaths — the 131 deaths last year was the lowest annual fatality count on record.
In Minnesota, one in seven drivers has a DWI on record. Last year, 29,918 motorists were arrested.
Roeske stresses for Minnesotans to always plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. He says families should let each other know that they will be available to offer a safe ride home. Roeske adds motorists can help stop impaired drivers by calling 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Witnesses must be prepared to provide location, license plate and observed dangerous behavior.
DWI enforcement is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response. The goal of the program is 350 or fewer deaths by the end of 2014. To-date, there have been 224 traffic deaths in Minnesota compared to 286 at this time last year.
Editor's Note: View DWI arrest totals by reporting law enforcement agency.