ST. PAUL, Minn. — Halloween partygoers beware: law enforcement agencies around the state will be increasing their presence this weekend to crack down on impaired drivers, an effort coordinated by Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
The DWI enforcement period bookends a week that included the state reaching 300 crash deaths for 2013. The preliminary count of 300 traffic deaths is about at the same pace as the 303 that occurred at this time in 2012. DPS projects around 395 deaths by the end of this year—the same total as last year.
Halloween can be a scary time, especially for those who don’t plan ahead for a sober ride. Seven people lost their lives and 27 others were seriously injured in drunk driving crashes during Halloween party weekends in the last five years (2008-2012). Law enforcement arrested 2,484 motorists for DWI during that same five-year period.
“Impaired driving typically rears its ugly head during the Halloween party period, which creates a dangerous environment on our roads and highways,” says Jody Oscarson, DPS Office of Traffic Safety impaired driving program coordinator. “Before you put on your costume and head out for the night, make sure you have a plan in place for a sober way home to avoid the dangers and consequences of driving drunk.”
Minnesota Drunk Driving Facts
- 104 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012.
- 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.
DPS also emphasizes the importance of pedestrian safety on Halloween. Trick-or-treaters and parents should review basic rules — be aware of moving traffic, cross streets only at intersections or marked crosswalks, carry flashlights and wear reflective clothing. Trick-or-treaters should continue to look both ways as they cross, as distracted drivers may not be looking for them. Motorists should reduce speeds and be prepared to see and stop for pedestrians.
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: enforcement, education 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 traffic safety initiative.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths 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