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Over 1,600 arrested during DWI enforcement period

During the end-of-summer DWI campaign that began Aug.14 and ran through Sept. 7, officers, deputies and troopers around the state arrested 1,649 drivers for driving impaired, according to numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS). That number is up from 2019, when there were 1,479 arrests during the same period.

A total of 312 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota participated in the campaign conducted by the DPS-OTS.

In addition to DWI arrests, law enforcement also cited 294 drivers for failing to move over for stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights. Minnesota’s Move Over Law was enacted in response to the death of Minnesota State Trooper Cpl. Ted Foss, who was killed after being struck by a tractor trailer while conducting a traffic stop in 2000.

Nearly one out of every four traffic deaths in Minnesota is drunk driving-related, according to the DPS-OTS.

Consequences for 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 with a 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.

To prevent drunk driving, the DPS-OTS recommends the following:

• Plan for a safe ride – designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration;

• Drive Smart – 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; and

• Report drunk driving – call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

More than 300 agencies will be enforcing the seat belt law and reminding motorists to drive smart during the Click It or Ticket campaign Sept. 18-30. The DPS-OTS coordinates the statewide campaign and the funding is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.