So far in December, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety says that there have been 1300 people arrested for DWI. The increase in arrests comes after the Minnesota State Patrol started working overtime in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign in order to prevent drunk drivers from causing injuries to themselves and other drivers on the road.
This campaign is very important, as 2011 saw 111 people killed on the road. This is a portion of the 651 that were killed in crashes involving drunk drivers. Just in the past three Decembers, 7,497 people were arrested for DWI, while 28 people were killed.
December is the ideal month to conduct such a campaign because of the fact that there are many celebrations happening and the last thing anyone wants is for their holiday to be ruined by a drunk driver. Taking the motorists off of the roads before they can cause harm to themselves or others is the goal.
Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol lists a number of alternatives to driving drunk. They include making sure you designate a designated driver or use public transportation to take you where you are going. Also during the holiday season, all drivers are to exercise a great deal of caution and be on the lookout for drunk drivers. All suspicious driving activity should be reported to 911 so that a potential drunk driver could be taken off of the road.
Roeske also reiterates the DWI penalties, which means a loss of license for up to one year, jail time, and/or fines. Repeat offenders receive stiffer sentences, while first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration twice the legal limit must be required to use an ignition interlock device on their vehicles in order to get driving privileges back. The ignition interlock device is the alternative to losing privileges for a year. Those with three or more offenses must use the interlock device for up to six years or they cannot regain their privileges at all.