Extra impaired driving enforcement runs from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6

Published 5:43 pm Friday, August 20, 2021

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Law enforcement will be on the roads as the Labor Day holiday approaches.

Troopers, deputies and officers will be working to prevent impaired driving across Minnesota with extra DWI enforcement from Aug. 20 through Sept. 6. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the campaign and funding is provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Safe, sober choices behind the wheel will prevent an unfortunate end to summer on so many levels,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “If you choose to drive impaired, take your pick of potential consequences. Getting arrested. Losing your license. Paying higher insurance fees. Facing lifelong, serious injuries and medical bills. Killing yourself or someone else. We want Minnesotans to celebrate the end of summer at the lake, at the cabin, in the backyard, wherever you love to relax for the holiday. To keep it fun and safe, plan a sober ride before getting together.”

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Long-term trends show Minnesotans are increasingly aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, but DWIs are increasing this year after pandemic-related shutdowns last year helped curb impaired driving. There were 15,154 DWIs reported as of Aug. 16 compared with 14,349 at the same time in 2020.

In 2020, drunk driving-related deaths were 20% of all traffic fatalities in Minnesota.

Consequences for DWI include loss of your 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. Insurance rates could also increase significantly.