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An Echo Press Editorial: Dangerous choices put lives at risk

By the Echo Press Editorial Board

EP Echo Press Editorial
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It’s as simple as this: Drivers who make dangerous choices put lives at risk.

Troopers, deputies and police officers throughout the state are making arrests to prove that point. They’re working together on a statewide campaign that includes extra DWI enforcement, through New Year’s Eve. They’re looking for drivers who appear impaired, whether by alcohol or other substances. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety, coordinates the enforcement, education and awareness campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Just over halfway through the holiday extra enforcement campaign, law enforcement statewide have arrested 1,427 impaired drivers on Minnesota roads. Those arrests were made Nov. 23 through Dec. 12.

There have been 24,725 impaired driving arrests so far this year (as of Dec. 12). That compares with 23,301 at the same time last year, according to safety leaders.

Some notable stops during the holiday campaign that safety leaders provided:

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  • A State Patrol trooper in Oakdale stopped a 23-year-old driver for going 103 in a 65 mph zone. He was arrested for DWI with a 0.10 BAC and cited for reckless driving. It was the third time the driver had been stopped for speeding over 100 mph.
  • A Faribault police officer stopped a 37-year-old driver for speeding with five kids in the car under age 15. Four of the five children were not wearing seat belts. The driver was arrested for DWI with 0.15 BAC and cited for driving after revocation and speed.
  • A Bemidji police officer arrested a 26-year-old driver after he nearly hit pedestrians during a parade. He had a 0.28 BAC.
  • An Elk River police officer arrested a 39-year-old man for driving impaired with a 0.269 BAC.
  • A State Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle for a driving complaint. The 29-year-old man told the trooper he was tired. He was arrested for second degree DWI with a 0.41 BAC.
  • A Chaska police officer arrested a 29-year-old man. He could not perform any of the field sobriety tests. He had a 0.334 BAC.
  • A State Patrol trooper in St. Louis County arrested a 37-year-old man for going 107 in a 60 mph zone. He was suspected of being impaired on drugs.
  • Burnsville police arrested a 26-year-old man for DWI with a 0.173 BAC. His pregnant girlfriend and her 9-year-old and 12-year-old children were in the vehicle.
  • Plymouth police responded to two separate crashes within minutes of each other. The first was a two-vehicle crash. The driver was arrested with a 0.327 BAC. Twelve minutes later, a vehicle went off the roadway and struck a tree. That driver was arrested with a 0.323 BAC.
  • A State Patrol trooper arrested a 60-year-old woman with a 0.11 BAC. She was stopped for going 92 in a 70 mph zone. She had left a Thanksgiving lunch and was on her way to Duluth for a Thanksgiving dinner. She had an open bottle of alcohol under the driver’s seat.

The next time you’re out celebrating "one more for the road," remember the dangerous choices that the drivers above made. This is one list you don’t want to end up on this holiday season.

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