Winona County law enforcement officers arrested 10 drunk drivers during a nationwide end-of-summer DWI enforcement effort, Aug. 16–Sept. 2. Around 400 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota participated in the state’s effort conducted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
Participating agencies in Winona County were: Goodview Police Department, Lewiston Police Department, St. Charles Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol 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.
“It’s always beneficial to the safety of everyone when you can take 10 drivers off the roads so they don’t hurt themselves or others,” says Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand. “However, the arrests from this campaign prove that people are still making poor choices and taking unnecessary risks that can be prevented by simply planning ahead for a sober ride.”
A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands 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. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving
• Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
• Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
• 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.
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.