Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office to participate in extra DWI enforcement campaign
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Holiday celebrations and alcohol often go hand-in-hand, and to help enforce impaired driving the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) will be participating in an extra DWI enforcement and awareness campaign starting Nov. 23 and running through New Year’s Eve.
According to OCSO, law enforcement will be looking for drivers who appear impaired, whether by alcohol or other substances.
Driving while impaired by any substance is illegal. It can be from alcohol, THC edibles, illegal drug use, antidepressants, opioids, sleep aids, abuse of prescription medications, and even common over-the-counter drugs.
Drugged driving DWI incidents are on the rise, and it’s a growing concern for Minnesota law enforcement. Drugged driving accounted for 6,941 DWI incidents from 2012-2016 compared with 15,747 from 2017-2021. That’s a 227% increase over a five year period.
Keep these tips in mind if you plan on celebrating the holidays with family and friends:
- 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.
- If you plan to drive, refrain from drugs, whether legally or illegally obtained.
- Some medications are fine on their own but can impair you when mixed with other medications or alcohol - even a small amount. Learn about the interactions and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
- Buckle up: the best defense against an impaired driver.
- Report impaired driving: call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety, 488 people lost their lives in 2021 crashes. The 2025 goal is to reduce traffic-related deaths to 225 or fewer.
Below are statistics provided by the OCSO:
- There were 620 drunk driving-related traffic deaths in Minnesota in the last five years.
- Alcohol-related crashes not only take lives, they change them forever. An average of 377 life-changing injuries (2017-2021) are caused by alcohol-related crashes each year.
- Drugged driving incidents accounted for 6,941 incidents from 2012-2016 compared with 15,747 from 2017-2021. That’s a 227 percent increase over a five year period.
Past holiday DWI arrests the day before Thanksgiving through Dec. 31 in Minnesota:
- 2017 - 2,939
- 2018 - 3,118
- 2019 - 2,645
- 2020 - 1,649
- 2021 - 2,293
DWI consequences 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 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.
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