Extra DWI patrols coming to Dodge County
Festive eating, drinking and unfortunately DWIs are all part of holiday celebrations this time of year. As people get together for the holidays, Dodge County law enforcement agencies will be taking drunk drivers off the road as they conduct extra DWI patrols.
The extra enforcement campaign began Nov. 25 and runs on weekends through Jan. 2, 2016.
The enforcement is part of a statewide effort with officers, deputies and troopers from more than 300 agencies working overtime with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement and education effort.
“You should not only be planning a sober ride home when you’re going to the bar, but also when you will be consuming alcohol at a friend’s or family’s home, or when attending holiday work parties,” said Dodge County Deputy Mark Dyshaw. “When hosting a celebration, don’t be afraid to speak up. Find guests a sober ride home or let them sleep at your house. You could be helping save lives that night.”
Most people think about a sober ride home when making their New Year’s plans, but statistics show motorists need to pay just as much attention to other holidays. The percentage of drunk-driving related deaths compared with total traffic fatalities is significantly higher for Thanksgiving and Christmas than other holidays (2010 – 2014).
• Thanksgiving: 53.8 percent
• Christmas: 46.2 percent
• Fourth of July: 40 percent
• Memorial Day: 27.3 percent
• Labor Day: 16.7 percent
• New Year’s Day: 12.5 percent
The 2014 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Impaired Driving Facts report reveals there is much more work to be done when it comes to getting drunks off the road.
• 88 out of 361 people killed in traffic fatalities statewide (24 percent) were drunk driving-related. Of those, two occurred in Dodge County.
• 25,258 DWIs (an average of 70 per day)
• In the last five years (2010 – 2014), there were 479 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in Minnesota.
Some of the consequences of getting a DWI include:
• 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.
Authorities offer some ideas on how to prevent drunken driving, including:
• 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.