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172 arrested for DWI in state's 'deadliest' counties

Enhanced DWI patrols conducted in the state's counties with the most alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries resulted in 172 DWI arrests in March.

Participating officers in the overtime patrols stopped 3,908 vehicles and issued 1,212 citations for traffic- and equipment-related violations - 152 for seat belt non-use.

Throughout 2010, the State Patrol, county sheriff offices and municipal agencies will combine resources to increase DWI patrols in 13 counties that accounted for more than half of the state's alcohol-related deaths (267) and serious injuries (605) during 2006-2008: Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright. DPS directs extra enforcement toward the counties with the highest combined number of alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries to have the biggest impact on impaired driving.

Of the 13 counties, five conduct "high-visibility" DWI patrols. The efforts employ electronic signage to alert motorists they've entered a "DWI Arrest Zone" on officer-saturated traffic corridors. Participating officers also wear "DWI Enforcement" reflective vests to increase enforcement visibility.

During 2006-2008, traffic crashes killed 1,459 people on Minnesota roads - 519 were alcohol-related. Each year, around 35 percent of all fatal traffic crashes are alcohol-related.

For DWI enforcement updates, visit the DPS Office of Traffic Safety on Facebook at "MnDPS_OTS-Traffic Safety."