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Wed, Dec 29th, 2010
Posted in Police Reports

ST. PAUL - As the ball drops on 2010, a statewide DWI enforcement campaign will drop the hammer on impaired drivers during New Year's Eve celebrations. Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials encourage motorists to celebrate safely by having a plan for a safe and sober ride.

During 2007-2009 in Minnesota on New Year's Eve, there were nine traffic deaths of which two were alcohol-related - a lower percentage of alcohol-related deaths than the state's annual percentage of more than 30 percent.

"What appears to occur on New Year's Eve is exactly what we want people to practice all year long - lock in plans for a safe and sober way home," says Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Roeske adds that because New Year's falls on a weekend, the potential for heightened impaired driving activity is likely. He says now is the time to plan for a safe and sober ride: designate a sober driver, take a cab, and families should let others know that they are available to offer a safe ride home at any time.

"Receiving a phone call at 3 a.m. from a family member asking for a ride is far better than receiving a knock on the door at 3 a.m. from a law enforcement officer," says Roeske.

The New Year's Eve enforcement caps a December-long statewide increased DWI enforcement campaign. Results from the campaign will be announced in early January 2011.

The New Year's DWI enforcement is a component of the state's core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to sculpt 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. To-date in 2010, there have been 397 traffic deaths in Minnesota compared to 395 at this time in 2009.

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