Planning ahead for a sober ride now might be a good choice as Winona County law enforcement agencies plan to crack down on drunken drivers during a stepped-up statewide and nationwide DWI enforcement effort, Aug. 16–Sept. 2. The statewide campaign is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
Local agencies participating are: Goodview Police Department, Lewiston Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol, St. Charles Police Department, and the Winona County Sheriff’s Department.
Each year in Minnesota, nearly 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI — there were 314 arrests in Winona County in 2012. During the last three years (2010–2012), 336 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in Minnesota — 104 were killed in 2012 alone. In Winona County during the last three years, drunk driving resulted in 3 deaths.
“Drinking and driving is always a bad idea, so the best course of action is to plan ahead for a sober ride,” says Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand. “Enforcement periods like this serve as a reminder to those who still don’t realize the risks and dangers of driving drunk.”
Law Enforcement Officers are also encouraging seat belt use during the campaign. Each year 75 percent of drinking drivers killed are also not belted. Minnesota’s primary seat belt law requires drivers and passengers in all seating positions — including the back seat — to be buckled up or in the correct child restraint. Law enforcement will stop and ticket unbelted drivers and passengers.
The enhanced DWI enforcement campaign is 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.