Boo! The cops will be out in full force Halloween
Law enforcement officers in the 25 counties with the highest numbers of traffic deaths and serious injuries tied to alcohol will try to keep scary fun from turning deadly this Halloween. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety is coordinating increased DWI enforcement in these locations on Oct. 31.
The 25 counties accounted for 62 percent of impaired-related traffic deaths and 69 percent of alcohol-related serious injuries in Minnesota the last three years. They have received federal funding for heightened DWI enforcement from October 2014 — September 2015.
Top 25 Impaired-Related Counties(1) Hennepin(6) Stearns(11) Washington(16) Cass(21) Mille Lacs(2) Anoka(7) Otter Tail(12) Wright(17) Blue Earth(22) Clay(3) Ramsey(8) Olmsted(13) Crow Wing(18) Meeker(23) Morrison(4) St. Louis(9) Itasca(14) Beltrami(19) Sherburne(24) Carlton(5) Dakota(10) Scott(15) Benton(20) Becker(25) Pine
Halloween, Alcohol, Driving — A Frightening Mix
Statewide in 2013, 30 percent of all fatalities were alcohol-related and Halloween is especially dangerous. From 2009 – 2013 over the Halloween period:
- · 14 fatalities and 29 serious injuries were alcohol-related.
- · half of all traffic fatalities were alcohol-related.
- · 38 percent of serious injuries were alcohol-related.
- · 60 percent of alcohol-related fatalities were males.
- · among 20 – 29 year olds, 67 percent of all traffic fatalities were alcohol-related.
“It’s all about choices and one poor choice can result in jail time, a lost driver’s license and other consequences,” said Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant Eric Roeske. “We ask motorists to plan for a sober ride, because while losing a license can really disrupt a person’s life, causing a fatality or injuring another driver or passenger is far worse.”
A DWI offense can result in loss of a license for up to a year, thousands of dollars 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.
Trick-or-treaters and parents should review basic rules — be aware of moving traffic, cross streets only at intersections or marked crosswalks, carry flashlights and wear reflective clothing. Trick-or-treaters should continue to look both ways as they cross, as distracted drivers may not be looking for them. Motorists should reduce speeds and be prepared to see and stop for pedestrians.
- · Alcohol-related: any evidence of alcohol detected in a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist.
- · Impaired-related: any driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
- · Drunk-driving-related: any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
OTS designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety initiative.