The Minnesota State Patrol recognizes that St. Patrick’s Day is historically a dangerous drinking and driving party time.
With it falling on a Sunday this year, the concern is a whole weekend of partying.
Troopers, deputies and officers from around Minnesota will be working Towards Zero Deaths (TZD) Driving While Impaired shifts all weekend, including Sunday, March 17, to be worked in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Area agencies participating include the Minnesota State Patrol, Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Pequot Lakes, Nisswa, Crosslake, Breezy Point, Emily, Brainerd and Baxter.
Drivers are encouraged to support this project by planning ahead not to drink and drive and report impaired drivers.
In the last five years during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday there were 11 traffic deaths. During that time, law enforcement arrested 1,241 motorists for DWI.
Department of Public Safety records from the Office of Traffic Safety show that since 2008, the number of people arrested for DWI on St. Patrick’s Day has gone up every year as the holiday approached the weekend.
Duluth State Patrol District Lt. Jason Hanson said, “We would rather not have to make arrests or have needless tragedies occur, but people need to plan ahead especially because of the potential for a weekend-long celebration.”