ST. PAUL, Minn. – New Year’s revelers are encouraged to plan ahead for a sober ride home, as Minnesota aims for fewer alcohol-related crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
In the last five years (2008-2013), five people died and 209 people suffered injuries in New Year’s holiday drunk driving crashes. There were 2,328 people were arrested for DWI during that time.
To highlight the realities of a DWI arrest, DPS has produced online videos – “DWI Confessions” – which feature stories of Minnesotans who have been arrested for DWI and their personal, financial and legal consequences. The second in this three-part series is now available on YouTube (http://youtu.be/FpvlKCp1pkU) and shares a woman’s experience in jail where, for her, “time stands still.” She describes her mounting expenses and the negative impact on her career. Her plea is for others to not drink and drive, even if “just buzzed.”
Part I of the series, released last week, can be found at http://youtu.be/z8Agn9r4t1o.
Minnesota law enforcement agencies have added extra DWI patrols through the end of the year in an effort to prevent drunk driving tragedies during the winter holiday season. Since the campaign began on November 27, 2,510 people have been arrested for DWI in Minnesota.
“Plan now to ensure your 2014 begins safely,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “Designate a sober driver, arrange ahead of time for safe transportation or stay the night. Whatever you do, make a smart decision to keep safe and not get behind the wheel after drinking.”
Metro Transit also is an option with its free New Year’s rides (see www.metrotransit.org).
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.
EDITORS NOTE: A broadcast quality file of “DWI Confessions” Part II may be downloaded at https://www.dropbox.com/s/jn7ubl7hjnrtkdl/DWI%20Confessions%202.mp4. Part I is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/c0d4etya5w861ow/DWI%20Confessions%201.mp4.
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