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Extra DWI enforcers patrol the streets Aug. 16-Sept. 1

Fri, Aug 15th, 2014
Posted in All Police Reports

Rochester, Minn. — Planning ahead for a sober ride during the Labor Day holiday might be a good choice as law enforcement plans to crack down on drunk drivers during a stepped-up statewide DWI enforcement effort, Aug. 16–Sept. 1. The statewide campaign is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

An Impaired Driving news conference was held at 9 a.m. on Friday, August 15, 2014, at the Olmsted County Government Center as a kick off to the enforcement campaign.


• Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede signed a proclamation declaring “Impaired Driving Victims Day.”

• More than twenty families who have lost a loved one due to impaired driving attended.

• MADD ribbons were placed on attendees as a reminder of the dangers of impaired driving.

• A plaque that hangs in the Government Center commemorating 53 lives lost due to impaired drivers was shown as a reminder of the many lives that have been changed forever.

• The “Remembering Victims of Impaired Drivers” license plate was displayed. It is a special plate that is available for display on any passenger vehicle to commemorate those who have lost their lives due to impaired driving.

As part of the education campaign, TZD has partnered with AAA to provide impaired driving cards. The cards give factual information on one side, along with the tragic story of how impaired driving impacted the Melville family. The Melvilles distribute these cards at MADD Victim Impact Panels across southern Minnesota. Law enforcement will also be distributing these educational cards to non-impaired motorists during the wave.

“Drinking and driving is always a bad idea, so the best course of action is to plan ahead for a sober ride,” says Minnesota State Patrol Captain Mark Holm. “Enforcement periods like this serve as a reminder to those who still don’t realize the risks of driving drunk.”

Impaired driving continues to be one of Minnesota’s most often committed and deadliest crimes. It accounts for more than 100 deaths annually. Nearly 26,000 motorists were arrested for DWI last year – which translates to 70 DWI arrests per day in Minnesota. One out of every seven licensed drivers in Minnesota has a DWI on record.

In 2013, there were 117 alcohol-related fatalities in Minnesota. These fatalities resulted from crashes where there was evidence that at least one driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist was known to be drinking. Alcohol-related fatalities represented 30 percent of all traffic deaths in 2013.

DWI Consequences

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.

Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving

• Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.

• Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.

• Buckle up — the best defense against a drunk driver.

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

Seat belt enforcement goes hand-in-hand with DWI patrols. Officers will stop a motorist for a seat belt violation in their effort to take impaired drivers off the roads, so buckle up. This law is especially meaningful as a vast majority of drunk drivers killed in crashes are also not belted. Minnesota’s primary seat belt law requires drivers and passengers in all seating positions — including the back seat — to be buckled up or in the correct child restraint.

The enhanced DWI enforcement campaign is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death (TZD) 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.

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