ST. PAUL (March 18, 2014) — Extra DWI patrols for St. Patrick’s Day weekend resulted in the arrest of 495 motorists for DWI, according to preliminary reports from Minnesota law enforcement agencies.
As of 9 a.m. Monday there were 420 arrests, with an additional 75 arrests between 9 a.m. Monday and 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Officials with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety say the arrest count will rise as additional DWI arrest information is submitted to the agency.
“Driving drunk puts the driver and everyone else on the road in danger,” says Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol. “There is no reason to get behind the wheel when you have had too much to drink. Always plan ahead for a sober ride.”
Each year, alcohol-related crashes account for one-third of the state’s total traffic deaths. Preliminary numbers show there were 390 traffic deaths and 25,426 motorists are arrested for DWI statewide in 2013.
To-date in 2014 is off to a deadly start. There have been 58 traffic deaths, four more than this time last year.
Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving
• Plan for a sober ride – designate a sober driver, use public transportation or a taxi cab.
• Make plans to 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.
The Office of Traffic Safety Highlights
• Roads in Minnesota’s 25 counties with the highest combined totals of drunk driving traffic deaths and alcohol-related serious injuries will be a primary focus for increased DWI enforcement through September 2014.
• In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in Minnesota, DPS awarded new federal grants totaling more than $8.5 million for regional partners to support overtime traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts through September 2014.
• OTS projects around 385 traffic deaths for 2013 – approximately 10 fewer fatalities that occurred in 2012.
• OTS news archive.
• OTS PSA archive.
• Media are encouraged to localize traffic safety news with county-specific crash facts.