Major DWI enforcement hits roads this weekendSignificant weekend DWI enforcement will hit roads in the state’s 13 counties with the highest combined total of alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
ST. PAUL — Significant weekend DWI enforcement will hit roads in the state’s 13 counties with the highest combined total of alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries. Added DWI enforcement efforts will roll summer-long to combat impaired driving, which typically spikes in warm-weather months, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
In Minnesota during 2008–2010, there were 435 alcohol-related traffic deaths and 142 (33 percent) occurred during June–August. During this same period, there were 98,740 DWI arrests, of which 25,519 (26 percent) occurred during summer.
“Impaired driving is a threat on our roads all year, but especially in the summer,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Motorists can avoid harsh DWI consequences by taking easy steps to plan for a safe and sober ride home.”
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 provide location, license plate and observed dangerous behavior.
The State Patrol, and county and city law enforcement agencies will conduct extra patrols in the following counties which accounted for more than half of the state’s alcohol-related deaths (254) and half of the state’s serious injuries (506) during the three-year period 2007–2009:
· Anoka (22 alcohol-related deaths/51 alcohol-related serious injuries)
· Carver (13/12)
· Dakota (20/33)
· Hennepin (61/144)
· Itasca (11/15)
· Olmsted (15/30)
· Ramsey (19/54)
· Rice (3/29)
· St. Louis (26/55)
· Scott (12/24)
· Stearns (11/20)
· Washington (13/23)
· Wright (28/16).
DPS directs extra enforcement toward Minnesota counties with the highest combined number of alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries to maximize the enforcement’s impact on impaired drivers.
In the last five years, Minnesota averaged 171 alcohol-related deaths and 373 alcohol-related serious injuries annually. More than 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI each year. A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.
The enforcement is supported by a new TV campaign.
Enhanced DWI patrols are a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD).
To-date in 2011 there has been 115 traffic deaths compared to 153 at this time in 2010.