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Office of Communications

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety
 

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NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT:
Dave Boxum  651-201-7569
dave.boxum@state.mn.us
Nicole Roddy  651-201-7571
nicole.roddy@state.mn.us
 
November 22, 2022
Give the Perfect Holiday Gift This Season: Plan a Safe and Sober Ride
Extra DWI Patrols Looking for Drivers Impaired Under any Substance Nov. 23-Dec. 31

​ST. PAUL — The holiday season is a special time as Minnesotans gather with loved ones from near and far. To keep it safe and help ensure fun memories last a lifetime, law enforcement statewide will be watching the roads and protecting people from impaired drivers.

Troopers, deputies and police officers will be participating in a statewide campaign, which includes extra DWI enforcement, Nov. 23 through New Year’s Eve. They will be looking for drivers who appear impaired, whether by alcohol or other substances. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) coordinates the enforcement, education and awareness ​campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The holidays are a busy but fun time filled with sharing food, laughter and time-honored traditions with our family and friends,” said OTS Director Mike Hanson. “This should be a time for Minnesotans to take a break from the daily stresses of life. Alcohol may be a part of the celebrating and that’s OK as long as you’re not driving after drinking. The same guidance applies with any substance that can impair your driving, including sleep aids or THC edibles. Drive smart by planning a safe and sober ride.”

If You Feel Different, You Drive Different​

There's more than one way to be under the influence behind the wheel. In addition to alcohol, abuse of prescription medications, antidepressants, opioids, THC edibles, sleep aids, over-the-counter drugs and illegal drug use can also affect safe driving abilities.

Sobering Statistics

  • Drugged driving accounted for 6,941 DWI incidents from 2012-2016 compared with 15,747 from 2017-2021. That’s a 227 percent increase.
  • There were 620 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in Minnesota in the last five years.
  • Alcohol-related crashes not only take lives, they change them forever. Alcohol is a factor in an average of 377 life-changing injuries (2017-2021) each year.
  • Over the last five years, there were more than 12,000 DWIs the day before Thanksgiving through Dec. 31.

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.​​​
  • First-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above are required to use interlock for one year.
  • Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

A DWI is no Holiday

  • Plan for a safe ride: designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration.
  • Speak up: offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, get them a safe ride home.
  • If you plan to drive, refrain from drugs, whether legally or illegally obtained.
  • Some medications are fine on their own but can impair you when mixed with other medications or alcohol. Learn about the interactions and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Buckle up: the best defense against an impaired driver.
  • Report impaired driving: call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

Resources:

DriveSmartMN​.org​

​About the Minnesota Department Public Safety

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 10 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. These efforts form a strong foundation for the statewide ​Toward Zero Deaths​ traffic safety program. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program, child seats for needy families program and school bus stop arm camera project.

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