ST. PAUL, Minn. — Twin Cities roads on Friday, May 10, will be saturated with up to 150 law enforcement squads from more than 70 different agencies during a special one-day DWI enforcement crackdown, the largest coordinated DWI event ever in the metro.
The campaign is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. City and county agencies and the Minnesota State Patrol are participating. Extra DWI patrols are also hitting the roads in many other counties this weekend.
The increased patrols are rolling out to alert motorists of the dangers and consequences of drunk driving as the state heads into the warm-weather driving season, when impaired driving activity historically increases. In the past five years, there were 288 drunk driving deaths during May–August, representing 44 percent of the state’s total drunk driving deaths (651) in these five years.
Each year in Minnesota, drunk driving accounts for more than 100 deaths and nearly 300 serious, life-altering injuries. Nearly 30,000 people are arrested for DWI annually and one in seven Minnesota drivers has a DWI on record.
“We are strongly demonstrating what we are doing to stop drunk drivers through this display of enforcement,” says DPS Commissioner Mona Dohman. “We are asking you to do your part, too, by planning ahead and avoiding the dangers and consequences of driving impaired.”
The effort will be supported by high-visibility enforcement tactics including MnDOT overhead message boards calling out certain major corridors as “DWI Enforcement Zones” — where officers will be focusing patrols.
DPS will live-report DWI arrest activity on Twitter May 10 — follow updates at @MnDPS_OTS, #May10DWI.
The May 10 event leads into future increased DWI patrols this summer that will be focused on the state’s 13 counties with the highest combined totals of drunk driving deaths and serious injuries: Anoka, Becker, Dakota, Hennepin, Meeker, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Ramsey, St. Louis, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington, Wright.
A statewide DWI crackdown will be on the roads in mid-August.
Drunk Driving in Minnesota
In the last five years, 651 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Drunk driving deaths account for one-third of the state’s total deaths annually.
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.
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.
- Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
- Buckle up — the best defense 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