Police, deputies kick off DWI campaign

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Local law enforcement officers, along with more than 300 agencies across the state, kicked off a stepped-up drunken driving enforcement campaign on Wednesday that will continue on weekends through Dec. 30.

Drunken driving contributed to 27 deaths across the state from the same time period in the last five years, according to a news release.

“As the holidays approach, it’s a time of excited anticipation for many Minnesotans,” said Albert Lea Police Department Lt. Jeff Strom. “Sadly, for too many other Minnesotans, the holidays are a painful reminder that their loved one is no longer with them. A drunk driver took their life or their loved one decided to drive impaired. Please celebrate wisely over the holidays, speak up to prevent a tragedy and always plan a sober ride.”

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The news release stated more than 23,000 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2016 in Minnesota. Of that number, 2,136 were arrested from Nov. 22 through Dec. 30, 2016.

People are encouraged to plan for a safe ride by designating a sober driver, using a cab or public transportation, or staying at the location of their celebration.

People should offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one any time. They should also buckle their seat belts and call 911 if they witness  impaired driving.

The campaign is a component of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths program.