ST. PAUL, Minn. — Motorists planning to drink before getting behind the wheel this Thanksgiving should think twice, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
Law enforcement agencies around the state are adding extra DWI patrols this holiday season in an effort to combat drunk driving-related crashes.
The enforcement effort begins Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 27), which is historically a popular party night. Extra DWI patrols will run through December.
“Thanksgiving begins a busy travel season and we need everyone’s help to ensure our roads remain as safe as possible,” said Lt. Eric Roeske, Minnesota State Patrol. “Safe roads begin with safe decisions, especially planning ahead for a sober ride.”
In Minnesota during the Thanksgiving travel period (Wed.–Sun.), 2010–2012:
- Seven people were killed on the roads—five were motorists, of which three were not buckled.
- Five of the seven people killed were a result of a drunk driving crash.
- 1,522 motorists were arrested for DWI.
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.
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