During the time period of Nov. 27 through Dec. 31, Maple Grove Police and other Minnesota law enforcement agencies arrested 2,453 impaired drivers as part of an enhanced DWI enforcement campaign according to preliminary DWI arrest information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
The Maple Grove Police Department was in the top five Twin Cities agencies with the most DWI arrests during the campaign with 36 DWI arrests. Other top agencies included: Minneapolis Police with 86 arrests, St. Paul Police with 80 arrests, Bloomington Police with 44 arrests and Eden Prairie Police with 31 arrests.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported 546 arrests during the extra enforcement.
The arrest numbers reflect statewide DWIs from 347 reporting agencies, including the Minnesota State Patrol, county sheriff’s offices and municipal law enforcement agencies.
Maple Grove Police Captain Keith Terlinden said the department’s high DWI arrest rate is due to the department’s concentration focus on the DWI enforcement. “Traffic safety is one of the department’s important key area of interest during the holidays,” he said. “We focus our efforts on traffic enforcement and safety during that time.”
The west-metro district of the State Patrol reported the highest alcohol-concentration in the state during the campaign — 0.34 — more than four times the legal limit of 0.08. This was followed by 0.33 from Lakes Area Police Department and 0.32 from Crookston, South Lake Minnetonka and St. Paul police departments. The highest blood alcohol content of those arrested in Maple Grove was 0.23.
“The number of arrests made last month shows that too many of our drivers still make poor choices about drinking and driving,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “Our goal with these enhanced enforcement campaigns is to keep our roads safer and encourage drivers to make smarter decisions.”
Terlinden added how important DWI enforcement is. “This is one area we have the biggest impact,” he said. “Taking drunk drivers off of the roads can make a huge impact. Drunk drivers are a liability to pedestrians and other motorists”
Based on preliminary data, there were 24,551 arrested for DWI in Minnesota in 2013. It is anticipated this number will approach 26,000 as data continues coming in and court cases are settled.
Extra DWI patrols will continue in 25 Minnesota counties, including in Hennepin County, periodically through September as part of a 12-month, federally funded enforcement program.
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 include:
• Plan for a sober 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.