DWI enforcement and awareness campaign being held now through Sept. 7

Staff Writer
Redwood Falls Gazette
Redwood Falls Gazette

Law enforcement and traffic safety partners across Minnesota will be participating in an extra DWI enforcement and awareness campaign now through Sept. 7.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the campaign, and the funding is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Minnesota’s stay-at-home COVID-19 response contributed to less traffic and fewer DWIs compared to a year ago. As of Aug. 10, there were 13,816 DWI arrests year-to-date compared with 16,881 arrests at this time last year.

Unfortunately, following the initial drop during March and April, arrests have been climbing.

Drunk driving-related deaths and alcohol-related serious injuries typically increase during the summer months. The Labor Day holiday period falls only behind Halloween and the Fourth of July for the highest number of DWI arrests per hour compared with other holidays (2013-17).

The consequences of a DWI conviction include:

• Loss of one’s 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 a 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or they will 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.

What follows are some tips to help avoid a DWI or a related injury:

• Plan for a safe ride – Designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option or stay at the location of the celebration.

• Speak up – Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, get them a safe ride home.

• Buckle up – This action is the best defense against a drunk driver.

• Report drunk driving — Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide the location, license plate number and observed behavior.

Learn more on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Web site at dps.mn.gov.

- Image courtesy of the Internet Public Domain