ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota law enforcement agencies arrested 2,551 impaired drivers as part of a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI enforcement campaign in December, according to Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety preliminary reports from 337 reporting agencies.
A similar DWI crackdown in December 2011 resulted in 2,600 DWI arrests.
“Our goal with these campaigns is to educate about the importance of planning a sober ride, and use enforcement for those who decide to get behind the wheel and put the lives of others—and their own—in danger,” said Lt. Eric Roeske, Minnesota State Patrol.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported 544 arrests during the extra enforcement. In the Twin Cities, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included: St. Paul PD (137); Minneapolis PD (86); Bloomington PD (44); White Bear Lake PD (37); and Brooklyn Park PD (34).
In Greater Minnesota, where 77 percent of the drunk driving deaths occur annually, agencies with the most arrests included: St. Cloud PD (43); Rochester PD (40); Moorhead PD (33); Duluth PD (23); and Red Lake Public Safety-Law Enforcement (23).
The State Patrol reported the highest alcohol-concentration in the state during the December campaign—0.47; the legal limit is 0.08. Twenty-three agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration in an arrest was at or above 0.30; more than 135 agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration was at or above 0.20.
Extra DWI patrols will continue in 2013 on roads in Minnesota’s 13 counties with the highest combined totals of drunk driving traffic deaths and alcohol-related serious injuries. The top 13 most dangerous DWI counties are: 1. Hennepin; 2. Ramsey; 3. St. Louis; 4. Anoka; 5. Dakota; 6. Olmsted; 7. Washington; 8. Stearns; 9. Wright; 10. Sherburne; 11. Becker; 12. Meeker; 13. Otter Tail.
To view all arrests by agency and their highest alcohol-concentration DWI arrest, visit https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/Documents/dec-dwi-results.pdf.
Drunk Driving in Minnesota
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.
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.
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
- There were 380 traffic deaths in 2012, according to preliminary reports. Officials expect the final death count to be around 390, which would be a 6 percent increase from 2011. Despite the increase, 2012 would be only the second year the state has tallied fewer than 400 deaths since 1944.
- 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.
- More than 4,000 DWI offenders are using ignition interlock to benefit road safety and ensure legal, sober driving.