DPS announces extra DWI enforcement for holidays; Enforcement period to run Nov. 21 – Dec. 29

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced on Tuesday that more than 300 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota are teaming up to get impaired drivers off the road. Officers, deputies and troopers statewide will be participating in an extra DWI enforcement campaign starting Nov. 21 and running on weekends through Dec. 29.

“As people host holiday parties, it’s crucial for everyone to have a plan before consuming alcohol,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “As your guests arrive, ask them about their plans, and if they don’t have a plan, get them a ride home or offer them a bed for the night. It’s much better to lie in a bed than a coffin or jail cell.”

The choice to drive drunk has contributed to 28 deaths on Minnesota roads from the day before Thanksgiving through Dec. 30 in the last five years (2012-2017).

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Blackout Wednesday Dangers

Blackout Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) is traditionally associated with a night of binge drinking. Many college students are returning home for a night of celebrating with friends and with no work on Thursday, many adults get together after a short workweek.

Last year, 133 drivers were arrested for DWI during a 12-hour period on Blackout Wednesday (6 p.m. Wednesday – 6 a.m. Thanksgiving). For a typical 48-hour period (Wednesday-Thursday), roughly 100 people are arrested in Minnesota for DWI.

“Blackout Wednesday is one of the most dangerous nights on Minnesota roads,” said Lt. Gordon Shank, Minnesota State Patrol. “I’ve worked Blackout Wednesday a number of years, and I get frustrated every time I make a DWI arrest where a driver could have easily planned for a sober ride. I’m thankful I was able to get the driver off the road to prevent a potential tragedy, but making the right choice before I meet you will help save lives.”

According to the MNDPS, 2,717 DWI arrests were made during last year’s holiday enforcement period.