8 drivers arrested in DWI dragnet

Published 9:48am Friday, December 28, 2012

By Albert Lea Tribune and Associated Press

Area law enforcement agencies arrested eight drivers for driving while intoxicated in December during a statewide campaign to combat drunken driving, according to a news release.

The campaign was coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety.

“DWI patrols are effective to reducing drunk driving activity, but it is clear that the issue remains a real problem that puts our roads in danger,” said Albert Lea Police Department Lt. J.D. Carlson. “To make progress and limit the tragedies that drunk driving causes, we need to take the simple, preventable steps, and step one is to always plan for a sober ride.”

Public safety officials are aiming for the fifth consecutive year with no drunken-driving deaths in Minnesota on New Year’s Eve.

In the past 10 years there have been eight drunken-driving deaths in Minnesota during the New Year’s holiday, but none in the past four years.

Although drunken-driving incidents are down in recent years, officials say New Year’s Eve still can be a dangerous night on Minnesota roads.

Officials are urging party-goers to plan a safe ride home on New Year’s Eve and throughout the New Year.

Many law enforcement agencies statewide will be stepping up DWI patrols on New Year’s Eve.

A DWI offense can result in a loss of license for up to one 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 levels, must use ignition interlock 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.

In Freeborn County from 2009-11, drunken driving crashes accounted for five deaths and six serious injuries. During this same period, 594 motorists were arrested for DWI.