1,842 DWI arrests during recent statewide enforcement effort

ST. PAUL — A statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” DWI enforcement campaign from Aug. 17 through Sept. 3 resulted in the arrest of 1,842 impaired drivers, according to Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety preliminary reports from 315 reporting agencies.

A similar DWI crackdown that closed out summer in 2011 resulted in 1,787 DWI arrests.

Each year, about 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI in Minnesota. Drunk driving crashes have resulted in 651 deaths during the past five years, with 111 in 2011. In 2011, the average DWI offender was arrested with a 0.16 alcohol-concentration level.

“The tragedies and life-changing events as a result of drunk driving can be prevented by smart planning,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol. “It’s our responsibilities as motorists to plan a safe and sober ride to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking and putting our roads in danger.”

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.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported 343 arrests during the extra enforcement. In the Twin Cities, agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign include: St. Paul PD with 100; Minneapolis PD with 42; Bloomington PD with 32; Maplewood PD with 24, and Eagan PD with 22.

In Greater Minnesota, where 77 percent of the drunk driving deaths occur annually, agencies with the most arrests include: Rochester PD with 27; St. Cloud PD with 26; Austin PD with 17; Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office with 14, and Moorhead PD with 13.

Highest alcohol-concentrations recorded during the campaign included 0.385 by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office; 0.38 by the State Patrol, east metro and White Bear Lake PD; 0.34 by Douglas County SO; 0.328 by the Isanti PD; 0.31 by the Cottage Grove PD and Minneapolis PD; 0.30 by the Mankato PD, and 0.304 by the New Prague PD.

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. Let family/friends know you are available to offer a safe ride home.

Buckle up and wear protective motorcycle gear — 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.