ST. PAUL — As Minnesota traffic deaths continue to surge in 2013, a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI enforcement campaign rolls Aug. 16–Sept. 2 with the aim to prevent drunk driving crashes and resulting deaths. Minnesota drunk driving crashes have killed 585 people in the last five years.
The enforcement campaign is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety, and is also being conducted on a national level.
To underscore the strong DWI enforcement activity and encourage people to secure a sober ride, DPS will live-report DWI arrest activity on Twitter and post arrest updates on Twin Cities digital billboards during the evening of Aug. 16. The updates will include age and gender of offender, location of arrest and alcohol-concentration level. Follow arrests at @MnDPS_OTS, #onelessdrunkdriver.
“There are plenty of Minnesotans who have driven drunk plenty of times and have not yet crashed and have not yet been caught,” says Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. “All it takes is one crash, one arrest to turn your world upside down. Avoid the risk and plan ahead.”
To-date, 219 people have been killed on Minnesota roads, up from 198 at this time last year.
Minnesota Drunk Driving Facts
- 104 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012 — 100 fewer than a decade ago.
- 2,644 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related crashes in 2012.
- 28,418 people were arrested for DWI in 2012, the average alcohol-concentration was 0.154.
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 sober 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 (OTS)
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.