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December campaign results in 2,551 DWI arrests in state

Minnesota law enforcement agencies arrested 2,551 impaired drivers as part of a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI enforcement campaign in December, according to Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety preliminary reports from 337 reporting agencies.

A similar DWI crackdown in December 2011 resulted in 2,600 DWI arrests.

“Our goal with these campaigns is to educate about the importance of planning a sober ride, and use enforcement for those who decide to get behind the wheel and put the lives of others — and their own — in danger,” said Lt. Eric Roeske, Minnesota State Patrol.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported 544 arrests during the extra enforcement.

The State Patrol reported the highest alcohol-concentration in the state during the December campaign — 0.47; the legal limit is 0.08. Twenty-three agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration in an arrest was at or above 0.30; more than 135 agencies reported their highest alcohol-concentration was at or above 0.20.

In the last five years, 651 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, 111 in 2011 alone. Each year, nearly 30,000 people are arrested for DWI.

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.

Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Prevent drunk driving by:

• Planning for a safe ride: Designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. Let family/friends know you are available to offer a safe ride home.

• Buckling up and wearing protective motorcycle gear, the best defenses against a drunk driver.

• Reporting drunk driving: Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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