ST. PAUL — A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, a French maid and Jeanie from “I Dream of Jeanie” were arrested for DWI during Halloween last year, and video of their arrests is a reminder to plan for a safe and sober ride, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.
Heightened DWI patrols will be on the roads during the Halloween party weekend in the Twin Cities. Alcohol-related crashes accounted for seven of the 17 traffic deaths and 10 serious injuries in Minnesota during the Halloween period, 2008–2010. During this same timeframe, 1,663 motorists were arrested for DWI.
A 30-second PSA of the costumed DWI offenders may be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVp5kUuVF5M. Broadcast-quality Quicktime file of the spot (393 MB), or .MP4 (27 MB) or .WMV (20 MB) files may be downloaded here: https://mndeptpublicsafety.sharefile.com/d/s88423b8b60a4ea68 (stations encouraged to air as PSA).
“Nothing is scarier on Halloween than drunk or impaired drivers,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Twin Cities law enforcement will be out this weekend, so make sure someone in your group goes as a designated driver to keep roads safe and people out of jail.”
Roeske also stresses that families should let loved ones know that they will be available to offer a sober ride home — at any time, any place.
A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time. Stronger DWI sanctions are in effect for all repeat DWI offenders, as well as for motorists arrested for a first-time DWI with a 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level. Under these sanctions, DWI offenders must use ignition interlock for at least a year or face at least one year without driving privileges. Interlock requires the driver to provide a breath sample under 0.02 for the vehicle to start.
Officials also emphasize 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, and carry flashlights. Motorists should reduce speeds and be prepared to react to pedestrian traffic.
To-date in Minnesota there have been 279 traffic deaths compared to 341 at this time in 2010.
Enhanced DWI enforcement is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death (TZD) 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.