ST. PAUL – Drivers are encouraged to make wise choices for a safe ride this week as the 4th of July is one of the deadliest holidays on Minnesota roads. Fifty-nine deaths were reported in the past 10 years over the holiday, and 34 fatalities (58 percent) were attributed to alcohol-related crashes.
“In the summer, we experience fewer crashes than in the winter, but along with the warmer temperatures, people tend to drive at higher speeds and crashes are more severe, which results in more fatalities and serious injuries,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “In addition to always buckling up, driving at safe speeds and paying attention to the road, the high number of DWI arrests is a call to action for all Minnesotans to plan a sober ride home before going out to celebrate.”
Since 2004, Independence Day also has seen 4,585 crashes, 200 serious injuries and 5,324 DWI citations, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS).
Minnesota roads experienced the following activity during these major holidays:
||Fri., May 24, 6 p.m., to Mon., May 27, midnight
||Wed., July 3, 6 p.m., to Sun., July 7, midnight
||Fri., Aug. 30, 6 p.m., to Mon., Sept. 2, midnight
||Wed., Nov. 27, 6 p.m., to Sun., Dec. 1, midnight
||Tues., Dec. 24, 6 p.m., to Wed., Dec. 25, midnight
||Tues., Dec. 31, 6 p.m., to Wed., Jan. 1, midnight
Drunk Driving in Minnesota
Nearly 28,000 people are arrested for DWI each year. Drinking and driving remains the leading cause of traffic deaths, responsible for one of every three traffic fatalities over the past decade. One in seven Minnesota drivers has a DWI on record.
A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars 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
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 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.
Recent OTS Activity and Statistics
- To-date, there have been 141 traffic deaths, 11 fewer reported than this time last year.
- The May 19-June 1 Click It or Ticket campaign reported 10,874 seat belt citations and 279 child restraint tickets from 329 law enforcement agencies.
- Final reports on enhanced enforcement for distracted driving during April 11-20 reported 827 texting citations from 308 law enforcement agencies.
- In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in Minnesota, DPS awarded new federal grants totaling more than $8.5 million for regional partners to support overtime traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts through September 2014.
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