Celebrate Independence Day by staying out of jail
ST. PAUL – As Minnesotans head to the lake or just kick back at home for the long three day weekend, the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS/OTS) reminds motorists to travel safely.
Recent fatal crashes have pushed the preliminary number of traffic deaths in Minnesota this year to 182 as of July 1, compared to 141 this time last year. And the Fourth of July is the deadliest major holiday of the year on Minnesota roads.
Holiday Fatalities (2010 – 2014)
- · Fourth of July: 25
- · Labor Day: 24
- · Memorial Day: 22
- · New Year’s Day: 16
- · Christmas: 13
- · Thanksgiving: 13
July 4 DWIs
Law enforcement in Minnesota’s top 25 most dangerous drunk driving counties will have
extra patrols across the state this weekend.
The Fourth of July ranks as the third deadliest holiday for drunk driving deaths, accounting for 40 percent of all Minnesota traffic fatalities during that holiday period. Only Thanksgiving (54 percent) and Christmas (46 percent) rank
higher for drunk driving deaths during holiday periods.
In addition, nearly 7 drivers are arrested per hour for a DWI on July 4.
DWI Crashes and Arrests on the Decline
The Department of Public Safety is encouraged by the growing number of people making the choice to find a sober ride.
In 2014, 88 people died from drunk driving-related crashes, a 21 percent decline compared to 2010.
DWI arrests declined in Minnesota for the eighth straight year with a 40 percent drop in 2014 compared to 2006.
DPS/OTS reminds motorists:
- Buckle up – Lack of seat belt use accounts for about half of motorists killed.
- Slow down – Speed contributes to one out of every four fatalities.
- Pay attention – Distracted driving contributes to one in four crashes.
- Always drive sober – In 2014, 88 people died from drunk driving-related crashes.
- Look twice for motorcyclists – Motorcycles are smaller so they can be harder to see and their speed is difficult to judge.
A DWI offense can result in loss of 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.
- Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a violation for driving under the influence of alcohol.
- 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
The Minnesota Department of 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
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety 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. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.