DWI enforcement wave coming to Minnesota roads starting Friday

Starting Friday, more than 300 agencies across Minnesota will be working overtime on a statewide DWI enforcement wave.

Running through Sept. 2, the agencies are looking to crack down on drunk and impaired drivers.

Statistics show Minnesotans are being arrested for DWIs at a higher rate in 2019 than last year. So far in 2019, 16,301 DWI arrests have been made. 

“We want people to understand that a DWI arrest is not only embarrassing, it’s a dangerous behavior that can cost someone their life,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director.

Hanson added that the death toll from 2018 was “preventable” and that drivers need to make a renewed commitment to drive sober. 2018 was the deadliest DWI year since 2015.

“It’s so frustrating because each of the 84 drunk driving-related deaths last year was preventable. It continues to baffle me why people choose to get behind the wheel after drinking when there are so many choices to get a sober ride. Let’s commit to making our roads safer by always lining up a sober ride,” he said.

Data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows summer is the deadliest DWI season of the year, with 127 fatalities recorded between 2014 and 2018.

Additionally, 481 alcohol-related serious injuries occurred during the same time frame, the most of any season.

Labor Day is the third busiest DWI holiday of the year, too. Behind only Halloween and the Fourth of July, law enforcement averages 3.8 arrests per hour on Labor Day. There were 401 DWI arrests over Labor Day weekend in 2018.

The Department of Public Safety is also highlighting the “embarrassing” aspects of DWI arrests. This is what drunk drivers should expect should they be arrested:

  • Be pulled over by a law enforcement officer.
  • Take a field sobriety test.
  • “Pat-down” at the jail.
  • Blow into a Breathalyzer.
  • Answer up to 500 personal questions.
  • Take fingerprints.
  • Have photo entered into statewide law enforcement database.
  • Strip down and shower.
  • Provided jail-issued clothing, including undergarments.
  • Spend time in a jail cell with other inmates; possibly more than 48 hours if arrested on a weekend
  • Loss of license.