Don't Let Summer be a Buzz Kill With a DWI
Extra DWI Enforcement Aug. 17 - Sept. 2
Long drives, scenic bike rides and evening walks. They are all part of summer in Minnesota, but if you’re an impaired driver, pedestrian or bicyclist, your summer days may abruptly end.
That’s why officers, deputies and troopers from more than 300 agencies will be working extra DWI enforcement shifts starting August 17 and running through September 2. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the overtime funds with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinating the extra enforcement and education effort.
Summer Buzz Kill
Crashes involving alcohol continue to change Minnesotans lives forever, especially during the summer months. From 2012-2016, there were 138 people who lost their lives in drunk driving crashes from June through August. While drunk driving continues to be a leading factor in traffic fatalities, there were 414 alcohol-related serious injuries during the same timeframe.
Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities and Alcohol-Related Serious Injuries 2012 - 2016
“From drunk drivers behind the wheel to pedestrians and bicyclists who have had too much to drink, we all need to be responsible for our actions on the road,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “If you are a driver, line up a sober ride. If you’ve been drinking, stay off your bicycle as your judgment can be impaired. If you’ve been drinking and are walking to a destination, make sure a sober friend is walking with you. One bad choice can lead to a lifetime of heartache.”
Labor Day – No Time Off for Law Enforcement
The Labor Day period is a working holiday for troopers, officers and deputies who are finding drunk drivers behind the wheel. The holiday period is the third worst for drunk drivers based on DWI arrests per hour at 3.8 (Halloween is the worst at 4 per hour).
Law enforcement officers consistently arrest more than 400 people for drunk driving during the long holiday weekend, and about 25,000 are arrested each year.
Holiday DWI Arrests per Hour (2013 – 2017)
Halloween – 4.0
Fourth of July – 3.9
Labor Day – 3.8
St. Patrick’s Day – 3.8
Memorial Day – 3.6
Thanksgiving – 3.6
New Year’s Eve – 3.3
Super Bowl – 3.2
Christmas – 2.5
Annual Average – 2.5
Labor Day DWI Arrests (Friday – Tuesday) & DWI Arrests Year-Round
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.
First-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above are required to use interlock for one year.
Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Speak Up and Plan a Sober Ride
Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration.
Speak up – Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, get them a safe ride home.
Buckle up — the best defense 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.
Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a violation for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
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.
Source: MN Department of Public Safety