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Tue, Nov 22nd, 2011
Posted in State of Minnesota

Heightened Enforcement Focus in Twin Cities on Holiday Eve and Weekend

ST. PAUL - Added servings of DWI enforcement will be dished out in the Twin Cities during Thanksgiving - historically one of the year's deadliest holiday travel periods. Enforcement will be focused on Thanksgiving eve, Nov. 23, and the holiday weekend.

The effort is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

DPS officials remind motorists to travel safely for Thanksgiving. In Minnesota during the Thanksgiving travel period (Wed.-Sun), 2008-2010, 16 motorists were killed and 1,834 motorists were arrested for DWI. Of the 16 deaths, six were alcohol-related and seven were unbelted occupants.

"Sadly, some families will have an empty seat at their holiday table," says Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol. "Arresting impaired drivers is a preventive measure to ensure safety on Minnesota roads."

In the Twin Cities metro area, the State Patrol and partnering local law enforcement agencies will increase their presence on the roads with the intent to identify and apprehend impaired drivers before they can seriously injure or kill other motorists.

Follow this recipe for traffic safety to ensure safe Thanksgiving travel:

§ Buckle up before and after you gobble up.

§ Plan for enough travel time to avoid the urge to speed - the posted speed is the speed limit.

§ Pay attention. Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel periods.

§ If you plan on drinking, plan for a safe and sober ride home.

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time. Stronger DWI sanctions are in effect for all repeat DWI offenders, as well as for motorists arrested for a first-time DWI with an alcohol-concentration level of 0.16 and above. Under these sanctions, offenders must use ignition interlock for at least a year or face at least one year without driving privileges.

Interlock requires a driver to provide a breath sample under 0.02 for the vehicle to start. Safety officials say interlock ensures DWI offenders are driving legally and safely. Potential participants of program can learn more at www.minnesotaignitioninterlock.org.

The DWI enforcement and education effort is a component of the state's Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. 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.

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