1,775 ARRESTED FOR DWI DURING END-OF-SUMMER CRACKDOWN
ST. PAUL -- An 18-day statewide enhanced DWI enforcement effort, August 20-September 6, resulted in the arrest of 1,775 motorists. Preliminary DWI arrest totals were reported to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety by 332 law enforcement agencies.
Consequences for a DWI include loss of license for up to a year, up to $20,000 in legal costs and heightened insurance rates, and possible jail time.
"Despite the progress we have made to prevent alcohol-related crashes, it's discouraging that many motorists are failing to consider others' safety by making the selfish and potentially deadly decision to drive impaired," says Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. "The results from this campaign are clear -- if you drive drunk, you will be arrested."
During the campaign, 2,891 motorists were also ticketed for seat belt violations. DPS included a seat belt enforcement focus to counter unbelted nighttime fatalities, which are especially prevalent in alcohol-related crashes. Each year, 75 percent of impaired drivers killed in alcohol-related crashes are not wearing seat belts.
The Minnesota State Patrol arrested 234 for DWI during the campaign. In the metro area, St. Paul Police Department reported 47 DWI arrests, followed by Minneapolis Police (45); New Hope Police (25); Maplewood Police (21); Ramsey County Sheriff's Office (20); and Eden Prairie Police (19). In greater Minnesota, Duluth Police and St. Cloud Police each arrested 25; followed by Mower County Sheriff's Office (23); and Austin Police (19).
Last year in Minnesota, there were 141 alcohol-related traffic deaths and 279 motorists were seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes. DPS reports enhanced DWI enforcement campaigns have factored in the state's positive trend of fewer alcohol-related deaths in recent years.
In Minnesota, one in seven drivers have a DWI on record, and each year more than 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI -- nearly 33,000 were apprehended in 2009.
DWI enforcement is a component of the state's core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes -- education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response. The goal of the program is 400 or fewer deaths by the end of 2010. To-date, there have been 280 traffic deaths in Minnesota.