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Law enforcement conducting extra DWI enforcement period

ST. PAUL –  Law enforcement and traffic safety partners across Minnesota will hold an Extra DWI Enforcement and Awareness Campaign through Sept. 7.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the campaign and the funding is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DPS-OTS is recognizing 48 officers, troopers, deputies, and prosecutors as the 13th DWI All-Star team. The All-Stars made 3,170 combined DWI arrests across Minnesota in 2019, protecting people from a driver’s choice to risk their own life and the lives of other people on the road by driving impaired.

“We’re so proud of the DWI All-Stars’ commitment to DWI enforcement and the priority that they place on saving lives and preventing serious injuries,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “The All-Stars’ work and the efforts of all of our law enforcement and traffic safety partners in Minnesota are helping change dangerous driving behaviors. We can’t enforce our way out of impaired driving. It’s up to each driver to make the choice to drive sober and drive smart.”

Included among Greater Minnesota’s list of 2019 All-Stars are Deputy Jamie Meyer of the Mower County Sheriff’s Office and Officer Nate Curtiss of the Austin Police Department. During last year’s enforcement period, Meyer and Curtiss arrested 62 and 31 impaired drivers respectively. 

Minnesota’s stay-at-home COVID-19 response contributed to less traffic and fewer DWIs compared to a year ago. As of Aug. 10, there were 13,816 DWI arrests year-to-date, compared with 16,881 arrests at this time last year. Unfortunately, after the drop in March and April, arrests are climbing.

Drunk driving-related deaths and alcohol-related serious injuries typically increase during the summer months.

DWI consequences can 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.