ST. PAUL — A series of new TV spots are hitting Minnesota airwaves next week to accompany extra DWI patrols hitting road this summer — the deadliest time for alcohol-related crashes. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety campaign is targeting the biggest DWI offenders, males 21–34.
Extra summertime DWI patrols will kick-off next weekend, June 17–18.
The 15-second spots link and twist common alcoholic beverage names and drinking terms with DWI consequences, capped with the tagline “Don’t Be What You Drink.” The spots include “Beer Mugged,” “Screwed Driver,” “Impounded,” “Slammer” and “Tapped Out.”
“The campaign takes phrases and images familiar to drinking drivers and flips them to reflect the serious negative consequences,” says Jean Ryan, DPS impaired driving programs coordinator. “The spots inform viewers that heightened patrols are on the roads and there are harsh consequences for taking the risk of driving impaired.”
In Minnesota during 2008–2010, there were 435 alcohol-related deaths and 142 (33 percent) occurred during June–August. During the same period, there were 98,740 DWI arrests, of which 25,519 (26 percent) occurred during summer.
DPS encourages Minnesotans to:
- Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. Families should let each other know that they will be available to offer a safe ride home.
- Buckle up and wear protective motorcycle gear — the best defenses against an impaired driver.
- Report impaired driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Witnesses must be prepared to offer location, license plate and observed dangerous behavior.
In the last five years, Minnesota averaged 171 alcohol-related deaths and 373 serious injuries annually. More than 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI each year.
Public service campaigns are a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). 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.
To-date in 2011, there have been 113 traffic deaths compared to 156 at this time in 2010.