ST. PAUL – To keep motorists and memories safe this holiday season, law enforcement across the state will be on the lookout for drunk drivers beginning this week. The extra enforcement campaign runs on weekends through December 27.
An increasing number of motorists are getting the message to drive sober or get pulled over. DWI arrests have gone down every year since 2006 when law enforcement officers arrested 41,951 drivers in Minnesota for DWI. The 2013 numbers statewide dropped to 25,719 — the lowest in recent history.
“We’re encouraged by the drop in DWI arrests, but it’s clear there is much more work to be done through education and enforcement,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. ”The responsibility falls on all of us. Speak up if you see a friend or family member who has had too much to drink. If you are a server, don’t be afraid to cut off a customer. Let’s keep the holiday memories special, not tragic.”
- Loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars 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 Drunk Driving
- Plan for a safe ride – designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
- Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
- Buckle up – the best defense against a drunk driver.
- Report drunk driving – call 911 when witnessing drunk driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
- Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a violation for driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Alcohol-related: any evidence of alcohol detected in a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist.
- Impaired-related: any driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
- Drunk-driving-related: any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.