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Don’t Let Summer be a Buzz Kill with a DWI
Crashes involving alcohol continue to change Minnesotans lives forever. From 2014-2018 (preliminary), there were 127 people who lost their lives in drunk driving crashes during the summer months, the deadliest season. While drunk driving continues to be a leading factor in traffic fatalities, impaired bicyclists and pedestrians also play a role in lives that are changed forever with 481 alcohol-related serious injuries during the same timeframe.
To help keep the roads safe, law enforcement agencies in Clay County will be participating with law enforcement statewide in an extra DWI enforcement campaign starting Aug. 16 and running through Sept. 2. Officers, deputies and troopers from more than 300 agencies will be working overtime with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the extra enforcement and education effort.
• 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.
• First-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above are required to use interlock for one year.
• Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Speak Up and Plan a Sober Ride
• Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration.
• Speak up – Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, get them a safe ride home.
• Buckle up — the best defense against a drunk driver.
• Report drunk driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
Enhanced DWI enforcement and education campaigns are a component of the state’s Toward Zero Death (TZD) initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.
Capt. Deric Swenson, 218.299.5186