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NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT:
Nicole Roddy  651-201-7571
nicole.roddy@state.mn.us
Dave Boxum  651-201-7569
dave.boxum@state.mn.us
 
January 12, 2024
Law enforcement arrests more than 2,400 impaired drivers during holiday season
Holiday DWI extra enforcement campaign conducted Nov. 22-Dec. 31

​ST. PAUL — Troopers, deputies and police officers from 279 agencies statewide arrested 2,432 impaired drivers during the holiday DWI campaign from Nov. 22 through New Year’s Eve. The numbers compare with 2,228 DWI arrests during last year’s holiday campaign.

The Minnesota Department o​f Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) coordinates the extra enforcement and awareness campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Examples of impaired driving arrests during the campaign

  • A good Samaritan flagged down a Lakeville police officer who found a woman passed out behind the wheel at a busy intersection. The 51-year-old still had her foot on the brake. When the officer tried to wake her, her vehicle rolled into the squad. The driver had an initial blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.40.
  • Chaska police arrested an intoxicated driver who crossed over the median and hit a vehicle head-on. Several people in the other vehicle were hurt.
  • Redwood County deputies responded to a fatal crash that was alcohol-related. The unbuckled driver rolled the truck. Alcohol was found in the vehicle.
  • A Chisago County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a driver who had their 2-year-old son in the vehicle. The driver had a 0.18 BAC and was arrested for second-degree DWI.
  • A Minnesota State Patrol trooper pulled over a vehicle for weaving across lane lines. The driver had a 0.225 BAC. The driver’s 10-year-old son was in the backseat.
  • A Minnesota State Patrol trooper responded to a vehicle that sideswiped an ambulance in north Minneapolis and kept going. The driver had a 0.16 BAC.
  • Inver Grove Heights police arrested a driver at 12:30 p.m. with a 0.30 BAC. He told officers he was on his way to the store.
  • The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office arrested a driver for their seventh DWI. Another driver told Olmsted County deputies she was on her way to pick up her kids. She had a 0.27 BAC.
  • Spring Lake Park police arrested a driver who was going to a restaurant on Christmas to eat pizza. He had a 0.35 BAC.

“If you’re out relaxing with friends over dinner and drinks, that’s fine, just make sure you have a sober ride home,” said OTS Director Mike Hanson. “If a person thinks they’re okay to drive after drinking, that can be a warning sign right there. Don’t risk it like we saw with too many drivers during this campaign.”

Twin Cities Metro-Area highest BACs

In the Twin Cities Metro Area, the highest BACs reported included:

  • Lakeville Police Department: 0.46
  • Savage Police Department: 0.441
  • Brooklyn Park Police Department: 0.37
  • White Bear Lake Police Department: 0.37
  • Lino Lakes Public Safety Department: 0.35
  • Spring Lake Park Police Department: 0.35

Greater Minnesota highest BACs

In greater Minnesota, the highest BACs reported included:

  • Minnesota State Patrol Virginia district: 0.36
  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office: 0.35
  • Sherburne County Sheriff's Office: 0.34
  • Minnesota State Patrol Rochester district: 0.33
  • Minnesota State Patrol Duluth district: 0.33
  • Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office: 0.33
  • Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office: 0.32

DWI arrests by agency

In the Twin Cities Metro Area, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included:

  • Minnesota State Patrol west metro district: 204
  • Minnesota State Patrol east metro district: 104
  • St. Paul Police Department: 58
  • Washington County Sheriff’s Office: 39
  • Anoka Police Department: 31
  • Blaine Police Department: 31
  • South Lake Minnetonka Police Department: 31

In Greater Minnesota, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign included:​

  • Minnesota State Patrol Rochester district: 65
  • Rochester Police Department: 54
  • Minnesota State Patrol Virginia district: 52
  • Minnesota State Patrol Duluth district: 49
  • Minnesota State Patrol St. Cloud district: 45
  • Wright County Sheriff’s Office: 42
  • Bemidji Police Department: 35

View a list of participating agencies and BAC levels​ for more information. 

Impaired is impaired, regardless of the substance

There's more than one way to be impaired behind the wheel. In addition to alcohol, cannabis can impair driving abilities. Reaction time is slower and understanding of distance and speed is different. Other substances, ranging from hemp-derived THC edibles to prescription medications and sleep aids, can also affect safe driving abilities.

  • During 2018-2022, 50 people died in drunk driving-related crashes, and there were more than 11,000 DWI incidents from the day before Thanksgiving through Dec. 31.
  • Drugged driving accounted for 8,069 DWI incidents from 2013-2017 compared with 15,810 from 2018-2022 — that’s a 96 percent increase.

Crash data the day before Thanksgiving through Dec. 31

​​Day before Thanksgiving
through Dec. 31
​Percentage of fatalities that were alcohol-related
​Percentage of serious injuries that were alcohol-related
​Percentage of total crashes that were alcohol-related
​2018
​34.1
​21.5
​5.0
​2019
​33.3
​29.2
​4.2
​2020
​36.7
​21.1
​4.3
​2021
​17.9
​16.2
​5.0
​2022
​23.7
​22.5
​4.4​


 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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