More than 1,300 people were arrested for DWI in December, according to preliminary DWI arrest information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.
In December, county sheriff’s offices, municipal agencies and the Minnesota State Patrol worked overtime hours during a statewide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign in an effort to prevent drunk driving tragedies.
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. In the last three Decembers (2009-11), 28 people were killed in drunk driving crashes and 7,497 were arrested for DWI.
“A DWI is certain to ruin the holidays, but thankfully these motorists were taken off the road before they caused real and direct harm to another motorist,” said Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “There’s no excuse for drunk driving, there are plenty of safe alternatives.”
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.
Tips to prevent
• Plan 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.
• Buckle up and wear protective motorcycle gear, which are the best defenses against a drunk driver.
• Report drunk driving: Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
Office of Traffic Safety highlights
• Traffic deaths have increased in 2012. As of Dec. 26, there had been 352 deaths, up from 331 at this time in 2011.
• There were at least 238 DWI arrests according to preliminary reports from DWI enforcement during the Thanksgiving holiday. This number will increase DPS receives additional DWI reports.
• The Office of Traffic Safety is investing federal grants totaling more than $7 million to 317 law enforcement agencies and community partner groups for enforcement and education campaigns from Oct. 2012-Sept. 30, 2013.
• The 2011 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report notes 368 traffic deaths for the year, the lowest since 1944 and a 44 percent reduction in deaths from a decade ago.
• More than 4,000 DWI offenders are using ignition interlock to benefit road safety and ensure legal, sober driving.