MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Starting this weekend, there’ll be extra DWI enforcement on Minnesota roads.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says that law enforcement officers across several agencies will be working overtime to stop impaired drivers. The campaign kicks into gear Friday and is set to last through the Labor Day weekend.
According to the department, this time of the year is the deadliest for drunk driving. Last summer, 137 people died as a result of impaired drivers, and more than 500 people were injured by them.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to significantly less DWI arrests this year, the numbers are beginning to tick up, officials say. Last month, more than 2,100 drivers were arrested for DWI, just slightly below the numbers for last July.
Arrest numbers are expected to jump during the Labor Day weekend, as officials say that the end-of-summer holiday weekend has one of the highest DWI arrest rates, only trailing the Fourth of July and Halloween.
Consequences for impaired driving in Minnesota include thousands of dollars in fines, possible jail time and loss of license up to a year. Repeat offenders are required to use ignition interlock to in order regain legal driving privileges.
Authorities advise party-going Minnesotans to plan a sober ride and speak up if a friend or relative has had too much to drive.
The enhanced enforcement campaign is being funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.