Wednesday, 19. January 2011
A few weeks ago we reported on the staggering number of DWIs issued in the first half of December. Well the rest of the numbers are in, and it appears that nearly 2,500 DWIs were issued in MN during the month of December.
The increased DWI enforcement was part of a month long, state-wide initiative aimed at reducing alcohol-related road accidents. The campaign continued through New Year’s Eve and was supported by $350,000 in federal funding to pay for 7,000 extra hours of enforcement.
400 law enforcement agencies were involved in the initiative. With 315 agencies reporting, the total number of MN DWIs issued in December comes to roughly 2,400.
Last year in Minnesota, 140 people died and 400 were injured in drunk-driving accidents. These figures have been decreasing over the past several years and experts at the DPS cite DWI enforcement campaigns as being integral to this decline.
“Minnesota roads are far from safe when you consider these DWI arrest numbers,” says Minnesota State Patrol officer Lt. Eric Roeske. “Many people made a selfish and dangerous decision to drive impaired. The good news is law enforcement officers were able to stop these motorists before damage was done.”
The increased DWI enforcement campaign will continue through the end of September in the 13 Minnesota counties that have had the highest alcohol-related accidents in the past few years: Anoka; Carver; Dakota; Hennepin; Itasca; Olmsted; Ramsey; Rice; St. Louis; Scott; Stearns; Washington; and Wright.
“These numbers actually aren’t that staggering,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “There are roughly 42,000 DWI arrests per year in Minnesota. That equates to about 3,500 each month. If anything, this increased DWI enforcement campaign led to a slightly below average month in terms of DWI arrests. The bottom line is this: we keep upping the laws and enforcement tactics, but people are still driving drunk. So what’s the solution? No one really knows.”