The statewide “Drive Sober or Get pulled Over” DWI campaign that spanned from August 17th until September 3rd netted a total of 1,842 DWI arrests, according to preliminary reports gathered by the DPS Office of Traffic Safety from over 300 agencies.
This is an increase from a similar campaign that was conducted in 2011 that resulted in nearly 1800 DWI arrests.
Every year, tens of thousands of drivers are arrested in Minnesota for DWI. From 2007 to 2011, crashes related to drunk driving resulted in 651 deaths with 111 of those occurring in 2011 alone. Statistics state that the average DWI offender was found to have an average blood alcohol concentration of 0.16, which is twice the state’s legal limit.
If convicted of a DWI, it can lead to thousands of dollars in fees, a license suspension or revocation, and jail time. Repeat offenders and even first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or higher are now ordered to use an ignition interlock device in order to earn back their driving privileges. If they do not participate in the ignition interlock program, they can lose their license for at least one year. Those offenders with 3 or more offenses must use the ignition interlock device for up to six years or their driving privileges will be completely lost.
During this latest campaign, 343 arrests were reported by the Minnesota State patrol. In the Twin Cities area, most of the arrests included 42 by the Minneapolis police, 100 by St. Paul, 24 by Maplewood, 32 by Bloomington, and 22 by Eagan. Rochester, St. Cloud, Beltrami, Austin, and Moorhead were the departments with the most arrests in the Greater Minnesota area.
The highest blood alcohol concentrations recorded included was reading of 0.385 recorded by the Dodge County Sheriff’s office.
The campaign provided information for individuals to prevent driving drunk, such as establishing a designated driver or using public transportation or simply not leaving the location if possible. Advice was also offered to friends and family to let potential drunk drivers know that a ride is available to them and for all drivers to buckle up because that is the best defense against a drunk driver. Calling 911 to inform law enforcement of a potential drunk driver is also a good way to save lives.