Stepped up DWI enforcement runs through Labor Day

Published 8:45 pm Sunday, August 19, 2018

Albert Lea police officers and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office deputies started an extra drunken driving enforcement Friday that continues through the Labor Day weekend.

In an effort to keep the roads safe, the enforcement is part of a statewide campaign with more than 300 agencies working overtime with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to a news release. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the extra enforcement and education effort.

“We all need to take responsibility for our own actions,” Albert Lea police Lt. Jeff Strom said in the release. “If you are a driver, line up a sober ride. If you’ve been drinking, stay off your bicycle as your judgement can be impaired. If you’ve been drinking and are walking to a destination, make sure a sober friend is walking with you. One bad choice can lead to a lifetime of heartache.”

Email newsletter signup

According to the release, 138 people died in Minnesota in drunken driving crashes during the summer months from 2012-16. During the same time frame, there were 414 alcohol-related serious injuries, adding up incidents involving drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Labor Day period is the third worst for driving while intoxicated arrests with 3.8 per hour. Law enforcement officers consistently arrest more than 400 people for drunken driving during the long holiday weekend.

Police advise people to plan for a safe ride, speak up, buckle up and report drunken driving.