Statewide 'Over the Limit' enforcement begins
Minnesota law enforcement agencies will beef up patrols now through Sept. 3 to target impaired drivers. Last year in Minnesota, 166 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes and nearly 42,000 were arrested for DWI - a record-high in Minnesota...
Minnesota law enforcement agencies will beef up patrols now through Sept. 3 to target impaired drivers.
Last year in Minnesota, 166 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes and nearly 42,000 were arrested for DWI - a record-high in Minnesota.
Over 400 Minnesota agencies will participate in the Safe & Sober enforcement effort which is also being conducted on a national scale. A similar enforcement effort last year netted nearly 2,300 DWI arrests in the state.
The enforcement will be supported by a federally funded advertising campaign including TV and radio, as well as print, indoor and out-of-home advertising. The campaign reflects the National Highway Traffic Safety's Administration's tagline, "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest."
The 166 alcohol-related deaths were the lowest number since 1984 and represent a 16 percent decrease from the 197 alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2005. Each year, alcohol-related crashes account for about one-third of all Minnesota traffic deaths.
In all, 493,059 Minnesotans have a DWI on record - meaning one in eight Minnesotans with a driving record has a DWI.
In 2005, the average age of a DWI offender was 32 and a majority of those arrested were males. A first DWI offense could result in a loss of license from at least 30 to 90 days and can cost up to $20,000 when factoring legal fees and increased insurance costs.
"It's simple - if you drive impaired or you are at or over the legal limit of 0.08, you will be under arrest," said Col. Mark Dunaski, chief of the State Patrol. "There's also a simple solution - designate a sober driver or use alternative transportation."
Accompanying the statewide crackdown are ongoing NightCAP (nighttime concentrated alcohol patrol) efforts focusing on Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin and Ramsey counties - the four deadliest counties in the Twin Cities metro area for impaired driving.
Minnesota Impaired Driving Fact Sheet
(Source: Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety)
Alcohol-related crashes, injuries and fatalities continue to be a serious problem in Minnesota. Overall, males and young adults are over-represented in alcohol-related crashes and account for a disproportionate share of fatalities.
- The legal alcohol limit for drivers in Minnesota is 0.08. It is always illegal to drive with an alcohol-concentration level of 0.08 or above. Motorists can be arrested under 0.08 if they demonstrate impaired driving behavior.
If a motorist's alcohol concentration is at 0.08 percent or higher, it is a criminal offense with penalties ranging from misdemeanor to felony. It is also a violation of civil law that triggers automatic driver license revocation for a minimum of 90 days for a first-time offense.
- From 2004 to 2006, Minnesota averaged 540 traffic deaths per year - 180 (33 percent) per year were impaired-driving related.
- Over the same three years, there was an average of about 38,000 DWI arrests each year - translating to more than 100 DWI arrests a day. In 2006, a record-high 41,842 DWI arrests were made.
- In 2006, the Twin Cities' metro area had 49 percent of the impaired driving arrests and the 80-county non-metro area 51 percent.
- In 2006, males accounted for 76 percent of impaired driving arrests. Young persons - especially people in their 20s - accounted for a disproportionate share of all arrests. In 2006, 46 percent of arrests were committed by people in their 20s.
- Of all Minnesota residents, 493,059 have a DWI on record. One in every eight persons in Minnesota with a driving record (including those with a license and those with a license revoked, cancelled etc.) has a DWI; 209,056 (one in 19) have two or more arrests; 97,729 (one in 40) have three or more; and, 1,108 have 10 or more.
- Drinking and driving is especially prevalent on weekends. In 2006, 27 percent of impaired driving arrests occurred on Saturdays and 23 percent on Sundays.
- Most impaired driving offenders are first-time offenders. Still, many offenses are committed by persons with prior DWIs on their record. In 2006, 15,896 (38 percent) of violators had prior DWIs on record.