Extra DWI Enforcement Planned For Holiday Season
November 26, 2014
A person is more likely to die in an alcohol-related crash during the holidays than at any other time of the year. Forty percent of traffic deaths during the holidays involve an impaired driver, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. To help combat drunk driving, metro area police will be conducting extra DWI enforcement Nov 26–Dec 27.
The enhanced DWI enforcement campaign is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death (TZD) initiative to create a safe driving culture. Golden Valley is supporting the effort through extra enforcement. You can help by driving sober, avoiding distractions while driving, and buckling up.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a violation for driving under the influence of alcohol. An increasing number of motorists tempted to drive drunk are getting the message to drive sober or get pulled over. DWI arrests have gone down every year since 2006, when law enforcement officers arrested 41,951 drivers in Minnesota for DWI. By 2013 numbers statewide dropped to 25,719, the lowest in Minnesota history.
Still the problem persists. From 2011–2013 there were 279 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in Minnesota—81 people were killed in 2013 alone. In addition, during that time there were 844 alcohol-related serious injuries and 83,958 DWI arrests.
A DWI conviction 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.
Plan Ahead For A Sober Ride
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. As always, buckle up. It’s the best defense against a drunk driver. Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior and be prepared to provide location, license plate number, and observed dangerous behavior.
The responsibility falls on all of us. Speak up if you see a friend or family member who has had too much to drink. If you are a server, don’t be afraid to cut off a customer. Help keep holiday memories special, not tragic.