From: Tom Williams
Winona Police Department
Winona County Sheriff
Year after year, the month of December proves to be a busy time on our roads. With the holiday season and New Year, comes an increase in parties and family gatherings – and in turn impaired motorists. Over the last three years statewide, officers issued 10,553 DWI citiations in the month of December alone.
Much progress has been made in reducing the number of alcohol-related deaths in Minnesota. And much of the credit is due to enhanced enforcement efforts targeting impaired drivers. These efforts allow state, county, and city agencies to combine resources, work together, and attack impaired driving with a united front.
In 2007, 190 Minnesota motorists were killed and another 3,252 were seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes. During that same time frame Minnesota law enforcement officers successfully made 38,635 DWI arrests.
It’s clear that impaired driving is still a serious threat on our roads. That is why we are continuing to increase enforcement patrols. This New Year’s holiday, our Winona County law enforcement agencies will be participating in a statewide Safe & Sober enforcement campaign.
This reason we are conducting this enforcement is simple:
Alcohol – related crashes account for over 30% of all traffic deaths each year in Minnesota.
From 2005-2007, more than 117,764 persons were arrested for DWI in Minnesota – and there were 553 alcohol-related traffic deaths at an estimated economic impact of $643 million.
More than one-half-million Minnesotans – one in eight with a driving record – has a DWI; about 300,000 have at least two or more DWIs
This effort is not just about DWI enforcement. Seat belt non-use is a huge issue when it comes to nighttime driving. Over the last three years, 62 percent of nighttime crash fatalities were not buckled up. And of the impaired drivers and their passengers killed in alcohol-related crashes, over 70% were not belted.
Seat belt enforcement goes hand-in-hand with nighttime-focused DWI patrols. So buckle up day and night.
Every motorist has a role in public safety, especially on our roads. When you get behind the wheel, it is your duty to ensure you are not putting yourself or anyone else at risk. Please drive sober and have a safe New Year’s.