Impaired driving more than a five-yard penalty

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 4, 2005

Tribune staff reports

In one of the most anticipated Super Bowl match-ups in recent memory, a determined squad of Albert Lea officers will face off with impaired motorists for control of local area roads.

The Albert Lea Police Department is directing the enforcement blitz to pressure impaired armchair quarterbacks to make better decisions, such as staying put, calling a cab or substituting a sober driver for a safe drive home.

Email newsletter signup

Over the past decade, Super Bowl weekends in Minnesota have averaged 522 crashes and three fatalities.

Each year in Minnesota, alcohol-related crashes account for 40 percent of all traffic fatalities. In 2003 in Freeborn County, there were seven traffic deaths, and of those, four were alcohol-related at an estimated cost of $4,360,000. There were also 224 DWI arrests in the county last year.

&uot;A DWI is not a simple five-yard penalty,&uot; said Lt. Jeff Strom. &uot;It’s a serious crime that can put your life and others in very poor field position.&uot;

Officers will be conducting seat belt usage surveys as well as increased enforcement of the traffic laws.

&uot;Super Bowl party hosts are responsible for the safety of their guests,&uot; said Strom. &uot;Talk with your guests prior to plan for safe rides home. If someone has too much to drink, don’t let them drive home.&uot;