DWI enforcement campaign in effect through end of year

Staff Writer
Redwood Falls Gazette
Redwood Falls Gazette

The holidays will look very different this year with COVID-19 upending so much of what Minnesotans enjoy during this time – large, family gatherings; relaxing with friends at bars and restaurants and company holiday parties.

The pandemic’s effects have not only led to reduced activities and less busy roads, but an alarming climb in traffic fatalities. Impaired driving is part of the problem.

Law enforcement agencies across the state will be preventing impaired driving from further affecting an already difficult year and holiday season for many Minnesotans by increasing their presence on roads statewide.

Officers, deputies and troopers are participating in an extra DWI enforcement and awareness campaign which is running weekends through Dec. 31.

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

“The pandemic is relentless, spreading among our friends and families and stressing our healthcare resources,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “We cannot have impaired driving further compromising our critical medical capabilities for those who are truly in need. Plan a sober ride, and stop the heartache and empty chairs at the holiday table.”

Alcohol-related crashes not only take lives, they change them forever.

They cause an average of 357 life-changing injuries each year (2015-19).

Seriously injured traffic victims require hospital care in a current healthcare environment dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic surge. 

Impaired drivers lead to increased tragedy.

Motorists need to plan ahead for sober rides, regardless of where they are drinking.

During 2015 -19, 28 people died in drunk driving-related crashes during the holiday DWI extra enforcement period. Of the various holiday time periods throughout 2019, Thanksgiving and July 4 tied for the highest percentage of drunk driving-related fatalities.

Nearly one out of every four deaths (22 percent) on Minnesota roads is drunk driving-related.

Motorists who fail to plan ahead for a sober ride may find themselves behind bars and not with family around the holiday table.

An impaired driver can also lose their license for up to a year and face thousands of dollars in costs.

Learn more online at www.dps.mn.gov/.

– Image courtesy of the Internet Public Domain