ST. PAUL — A statewide enhanced DWI enforcement campaign in December resulted in the arrest of 2, 573 impaired motorists. Preliminary DWI arrest totals were reported to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety by 314 law enforcement agencies.
The highest alcohol-concentration reported was 0.39. Twenty agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration in an arrest was at or above 0.30, and more than 100 agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration was at or above 0.20. The legal limit is 0.08.
In Minnesota, all repeat DWI offenders — and motorists arrested for a first-time DWI with an alcohol-concentration level of 0.16 and above — face stronger DWI sanctions. Under these sanctions, DWI offenders must use ignition interlock for at least a year or face at least one year without driving privileges. Interlock requires a driver to provide a breath sample under 0.02 for their vehicle to start.
The State Patrol reported 606 DWI arrests during the effort. In the Twin Cities, Minneapolis P.D. led with 62 arrests, followed by Bloomington P.D. and St. Paul P.D. (each with 52); Eden Prairie P.D. (42); Carver Sheriff (32); Robbinsdale P.D. (30); Crystal P.D. (29); Edina P.D. (24); and Maplewood P.D. (22).
In Greater Minnesota, where a majority of alcohol-related traffic deaths occur each year, St. Cloud P.D. arrested 38, followed by Red Lake Law Enforcement (35); Moorhead P.D. (34); Rochester P.D. (32); Duluth P.D. (28); Austin P.D. and Olmsted P.D. (each with 22); and Beltrami Sheriff (21).
In Minnesota, one in seven drivers has a DWI on record. In 2010, 29,918 motorists were arrested for DWI.
“The consequences of a DWI are harsh for a good reason,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Drunk driving results in hundreds of deaths and injuries each year.”
Roeske stresses to always plan for a safe ride in 2012 — 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 and education is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.