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Ask a Trooper: Minnesota troopers start holiday DWI enforcement

First-time DWI costs $10K

Jesse-Grabow.jpg
Jesse Grabow

Question: Did I hear there is extra DWI enforcement going on over the holidays?

Answer: Yes; here is some information that we shared on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s blog .

The holidays are going to be different this year, that’s for sure. With Minnesota’s pandemic restrictions in place for now, friends and family likely aren’t coming into town to celebrate, and even if they do, you won’t be going out to a bar or restaurant with them to catch up. But no matter where you’re drinking, you still need to plan ahead for a sober ride.

The consequences of a DWI are unpleasant at best. You can lose your license for up to a year, and even possibly serve jail time. And that’s not to mention the cost to a first-time DWI offender: about $10,000. Do you have 10 grand just lying around? Better to drive smart.

Driving smart involves not only driving sober, but buckling up, driving the speed limit, and putting distractions away. If you don’t drive smart, your chances of causing a crash are much greater – and then what? You and anyone else involved will likely need medical attention, meaning you’d be taking up valuable resources in the midst of a pandemic. Those hospital beds and medical supplies — not to mention the time and energy of already overworked medical professionals — need to be available for COVID-19 patients and other people who need care, not taken up because of careless decisions on the road.

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If keeping yourself and others safe on the road or conserving valuable resources doesn’t make you drive safely, perhaps this will: Starting today, there is extra DWI enforcement on Minnesota roads. The campaign runs every weekend through Dec. 31. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state are working overtime to get drunk drivers off the road.

But really, the legal and financial penalties of a DWI shouldn’t be the reason you avoid drinking and driving. You should avoid it because protecting your friends, yourself and other people on the road is the right thing to do. Do you really want to be the person who deprives a family of a beloved parent, sibling or child this holiday season? Traffic deaths in Minnesota are already at 361 so far this year compared with 332 fatalities reported this time last year. In general, impaired driving contributes to about a quarter of fatalities on the road. All those affected families are dreading spending the holidays without their loved one.

If you buckle up, find a sober ride, obey the speed limit and avoid distractions, you’ll not only arrive home safely to your family. You’ll help others on the road do the same, so that they can live to celebrate the holidays too.

Send questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota to: Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us.

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