Extra DWI enforcement campaign runs through Dec. 31
Extra DWI enforcement and awareness campaign started Nov. 25
Law enforcement agencies across the state will be preventing impaired driving from further affecting an already difficult year and holiday season for many Minnesotans by increasing their presence on roads.
Officers, deputies and troopers are participating in an extra DWI enforcement and awareness campaign that started Nov. 25 and runs on weekends through Dec. 31.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the statewide campaign, with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. New holiday advertising from DPS-OTS will be running to help influence smart choices behind the wheel.
Impaired driving kills the holiday spirit
Alcohol-related crashes cause an average of 357 life-changing injuries each year (2015-2019). Seriously injured traffic victims require hospital care in a current health care environment that is dealing with a pandemic surge.
During 2015-2019, 28 people died in drunk driving-related crashes during the holiday DWI extra enforcement period.
Of the various holiday periods throughout 2019, Thanksgiving and July 4 tied for the highest percentage of drunk driving-related fatalities.
Nearly one out of every four deaths (22%) on Minnesota roads is drunk driving-related. In the last five years (2015-2019), there were 413 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in Minnesota, with 89 people killed in 2019 alone.
Motorists who fail to plan ahead for a sober ride may find themselves behind bars and not with family around the holiday table. An impaired driver can also lose their license for up to a year and face thousands of dollars in costs.
Other DWI consequences can include:
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.
Plan for a safe ride - No matter where you plan to drink, designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration.
With bars and restaurants closed due to COVID-19, many people will decide to drink at home. The same rules apply - make sure you designate a sober driver or crash on a couch, not in a vehicle, if you're leaving family gatherings.
Buckle up - wearing a seat belt is the best defense against an impaired driver.
Report drunk driving - call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.