Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Minnesota State Patrol
Throughout December, around 400 Minnesota law enforcement agencies will increase DWI patrols to combat impaired driving. This effort will include seat belt patrols as 75 percent of impaired drivers killed are also not belted. The primary seat belt law means everyone in a vehicle must be belted. Law enforcement will stop and ticket drivers and passengers for belt violations.
* Each year, alcohol-related crashes account for more than one-third of all traffic deaths, more than 140 a year. Another 30,000-plus are arrested for DWI.
* In 2009, Minnesota recorded a record low number of alcohol-related deaths, 141. A big reason for the drop is enhanced DWI enforcement campaigns, paired with educational outreach.
* Despite this drop, these deaths accounted for more than one-third of all deaths, typical for each year.
* Majority of DWI offenders are male, but female arrests are increasing. Female DWI arrests have increased 6 percent since 1999, a significant jump in regard to DWI arrests. They now account for more than one-quarter of all DWI arrests.
* Vast majority (75 percent) of impaired drivers killed were also not buckled up; more than 60 percent of nighttime fatalities are not belted.
* December has the potential to be a deadly and dangerous time on roads because of holiday celebrations. Minnesota law enforcement will increase DWI patrols to combat the ongoing threat of impaired driving on our roads and ensure safe holidays. Motorists need to take responsibility and make a serious effort to plan for a safe and sober ride, or they will face the serious consequences of a DWI, or something much worse.
* Increased DWI enforcement will be on the road statewide. December has the potential to be deadly as holiday celebrations ramp up. Your job is to have a plan for a safe and sober ride to avoid a DWI.
* There are plenty of safe alternatives to avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking too much: take a cab or public transportation, designate a driver, or spend the night at the location of the celebration.
* If you know a family member or friend will be partying and you're staying in, offer to give them a ride home at anytime that night. A phone call at 3 a.m. beats a knock on the door at 3 a.m. from law enforcement.
* This campaign will also include seat belt enforcement, remember the state's primary seat belt law means everybody needs to be buckled up, even in the back. Law enforcement will stop a vehicle if anyone in the vehicle is not belted, even passengers.
* A DWI is a serious crime with serious consequences. It can cost as much as $20,000 when you factor court costs, lawyer fees, insurance and more. You will also lose your license for up to a year, and maybe do jail time.
* Everyone has a role to keep our roads safe, and that means never getting behind the wheel impaired. Always plan for a safe ride home before you party, and make sure your friends don't risk drinking and driving.
* Guys in their 20s are the biggest DWI offenders, the ones who are arrested most often, and of course, killed most often.
* Holiday parties all too often include adults providing alcohol to minors. Those under 21 need to understand that when they are caught behind the wheel and an officer detects any amount of alcohol, the minor will lose his license for up to 30 days. And those that provide alcohol can face serious charges, especially if the person they provided alcohol to crashes or injures someone else.