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Office of Communications

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety
 

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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Scott Wasserman  651-201-7571
scott.wasserman@state.mn.us
Dave Boxum  651-201-7569
dave.boxum@state.mn.us
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2015
EXTRA DRUNK DRIVING ENFORCEMENT RESULTS IN 1,513 DWI ARRESTS
Five Lives Lost and a Mother Arrested for DWI with her Child in the Vehicle

​ST. PAUL, Minn. – The choice to drink and drive triggered regrettable and tragic consequences during the enhanced DWI enforcement campaign August 21 – Sept. 7:

  •  Five traffic deaths where alcohol was involved.
  •  A mother driving drunk with her child in the car.
  •  A driver arrested at nearly five times over the legal limit.

The 1,513 DWI arrests during the campaign compare to 1,340 during the same period in 2014, according to preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS).

Alcohol, Crashes, Lives Lost
During the three week campaign period, four crashes that killed five people involved alcohol, according to preliminary reports. The lives lost include:

  •  A 19 and 16-year-old who were hit by an alleged drunk driver in Meeker County on August 25.
  •  A 17-year-old killed by an alleged drunk driver in Blue Earth County on August 27.
  •  A 38-year-old allegedly under the influence of alcohol was killed in a single vehicle crash in Stearns County on August 29.
  •  A 39-year-old apparently under the influence of alcohol died after colliding with a construction barrel and driving off a curve on September 6.

DWI Campaign Arrests
More than 300 agencies participated in the end of summer DWI Campaign. Arrests include:

  •  A mother arrested for DWI with her 10-year-old in the car. (West Hennepin Public Safety).
  •  A drunk driver going 126 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. (Mower County Sheriff).
  •  A driver arrested for DWI who was also arrested this past June during an earlier extra DWI enforcement campaign. (St. Paul Police).
  •  A minor arrested for drunk driving with a .243 B.A.C. (Morrison County Sheriff).

“The stories you hear from officers, troopers and deputies about drunk drivers are certainly scary for anyone who shares the road with those who make poor decisions,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “We know the efforts by law enforcement during our campaigns certainly make a difference in saving lives.”

Dangerous Driving Behaviors
A driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above can be arrested for DWI and during the extra enforcement campaign, the highest alcohol concentrations recorded included:

  • .396 (St. Paul Police)
  • .36 (Dodge County)
  • .35 (Elk River Police)
  • .349 (Winsted Police)
  • .31 (Howard Lake Police)
  • .31 (Mounds View Police)

DWI Arrests by Agency
The Minnesota State Patrol reported 253 DWI arrests during the extra enforcement campaign. In the Twin Cities metro area, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included:

  •  St. Paul Police – 47
  •  Minneapolis Police – 42
  •  Bloomington Police – 26
  •  White Bear Lake Police – 23

In Greater Minnesota, agencies with the most arrests included:

  •  Rochester Police – 25
  •  St. Cloud Police – 22
  •  Mankato Police – 20
  •  Duluth Police – 14

To view all arrests by agency and their highest alcohol-concentration DWI arrests, visit http://bit.ly/1FKgHSO

DWI Consequences
• 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.

Prevent Drunk Driving

  •  Plan for a safe 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.

Definitions

  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a violation for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Alcohol-related: any evidence of alcohol detected in a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist.
  • Impaired-related: any driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
  • Drunk-driving-related: any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.

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
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-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. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.

DPS-OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. 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 medical and trauma response.

Recent DPS-OTS Activity and Statistics

  •  Officers, deputies and troopers cited 16,410 motorists for unsafe speeds from July 10 - 26; that’s compared with 16,926 speeding tickets during last year’s campaign.
  •  Increased fines for repeat texting while driving offenders went into effect August 1. Under the enhanced law, drivers face a $225 fine for second and subsequent violations of the texting while driving law, in addition to the current $50 fine. The $275 fine, plus court fees, can cost an offender more than $300.
  •  Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2014 is a summary of traffic crashes derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved.





445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov