At least 1,300 arrested for DWI To-Date this month

Drive Sober logoST. PAUL — An estimated 1,300 people have been arrested for DWI to-date 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 are working overtime hours during a statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign in an effort to prevent drunk driving tragedies.

Washington County is one of several Minnesota counties targeted in the enhanced DWI patrol program.

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 (2009-2011), 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,” Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol. “There’s no excuse for drunk driving, there are plenty of safe alternatives.”

DWI Consequences

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.

New “Ho-Ho-Tini” TV Spot

A statewide advertising campaign is accompanying the December enforcement to remind Minnesotans about the added patrols. The campaign includes a new TV spot featuring a “Ho-Ho-Tini” cocktail: Download broadcast-quality file here:

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.