ST. PAUL — An estimated 1,300 people have been arrested for DWI to-date in December, according to preliminary DWI arrest information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.
In December, county sheriff’s offices, municipal agencies and the Minnesota State Patrol are working overtime hours during a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign in an effort to prevent drunk driving tragedies.
In the last five years, 651 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, 111 in 2011 alone. Each year, nearly 30,000 people are arrested for DWI. In the last three Decembers (2009-2011), 28 people were killed in drunk driving crashes and 7,497 were arrested for DWI.
“A DWI is certain to ruin the holidays, but thankfully these motorists were taken off the road before they caused real and direct harm to another motorist,” Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “There’s no excuse for drunk driving, there are plenty of safe alternatives.”
A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.
Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Designated Driver Gift Cards — The Perfect Holiday Gift
Officials say the best present to give is the gift of a safe lift with a Designated Driver Gift Card at MinnesotaSafeandSober.org.
New “Ho-Ho-Tini” TV Spot
A statewide advertising campaign is accompanying the December enforcement to remind Minnesotans about the added patrols. The campaign includes a new TV spot featuring a “Ho-Ho-Tini” cocktail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f-soy4Ypzo&feature=youtu.be. Download broadcast-quality file here: https://mndeptpublicsafety.sharefile.com/d/s6171f3c18ba4dec8.
Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving
• Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. Let family/friends know you are available to offer a safe ride home.
• Buckle up and wear protective motorcycle gear — the best defenses against a drunk driver.
• Report drunk driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety initiative. 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.
Office of Traffic Safety Highlights
• Traffic deaths have increased in 2012 — to-date there have been 352 deaths, up from 331 at this time in 2011.
• There were at least 238 DWI arrests according to preliminary reports from DWI enforcement during the Thanksgiving holiday. This number will increase DPS receives additional DWI reports.
• OTS is investing federal grants totaling more than $7 million to 317 law enforcement agencies and community partner groups for enforcement and education campaigns, Oct. 2012-Sept. 30, 2013.
• The 2011 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report notes 368 traffic deaths for the year, the lowest since 1944 and a 44 percent reduction in deaths from a decade ago: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Final-2011-Traffic-Crash-Report-368-Killed.aspx
• More than 4,000 DWI offenders are using ignition interlock to benefit road safety and ensure legal, sober driving: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs/programs/mn-ignition-interlock/Pages/default.aspx
• OTS news archive: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/Pages/news.aspx