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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Nick Carpenter  651-201-7569
nicholas.carpenter@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2013
Drunk Driving Deaths on Super Bowl Sunday Tally Zero During Last Four Years
Fans Encouraged to Keep Streak Alive by Planning for a Sober Ride Home

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Football fans planning to drink on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 3) are reminded to plan ahead for a sober ride home or call a last-second audible before getting behind the wheel. Several law enforcement agencies around the state will be stepping up DWI enforcement patrols to sack drunk drivers as Minnesota tries to make it five years running without a drunk driving death on Super Bowl Sunday, according to the Minnesota Department Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

Minnesota Super Bowl Sunday Facts, 2008–2012 (last five years)

  • Nine traffic deaths, one of which was alcohol-related (occurred in 2008).
  • 1,101 motorists arrested for DWI.

“In order to keep this Super Bowl streak going for a fifth consecutive year, we need everyone to plan for a sober ride home,” said Donna Berger, DPS Office of Traffic Safety director. “Planning for a sober ride and making it a habit goes a long way toward stopping preventable traffic deaths.”

Keys to Safe Super Bowl Sunday

  • 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 — 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.

Drunk Driving in Minnesota
Each year, nearly 30,000 people are arrested for DWI and one in seven Minnesota drivers has a DWI on record.

DWI Consequences
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.

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.
  • 2,551 motorists were arrested for DWI during a statewide DWI enforcement effort.
  • 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.
  • OTS news archive: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/Pages/news.aspx
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