Late summer DWI campaign kicks in; State, local law enforcement seeks to end life-changing injuries, fatalities

Published 9:01 am Friday, August 19, 2016

ST. PAUL — Drunk driving kills. Drunk driving seriously injures. Drunk driving is preventable, and law enforcement statewide will be focusing on keeping Minnesotans safe as they celebrate the final weeks of summer.

More than 300 agencies will be taking drunk drivers off the road as part of the extra DWI enforcement campaign starting today through Sept. 5.

As summer winds down, DWIs go up. Since 2011, August has been the worst month for DWI offenders, averaging 2,509 arrests, followed by March (2,399) and July (2,354). On average, drunk driving will be a contributing factor in one fatality, and alcohol will be involved in two life-changing injuries during the Labor Day holiday period.

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Serious injuries are life-changing injuries. While people can survive serious injuries, they can face a lifetime of difficulties.

For Erica Bodell of Cambridge, she and her three children survived when a drunk driver hit her vehicle in November 2015 but all four were injured. Her 3-year-old daughter is paralyzed, and other injuries to the family included broken legs, a fractured skull and nerve damage.

Minnesotans can stop themselves and others from getting behind the wheel impaired. An increasing number of motorists are making smart choices behind the wheel with DWI arrests declining by 40 percent in the last 10 years.

A DWI offense 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.