Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety recently announced it began increasing its DWI enforcement across the state right before the Thanksgiving holiday. The Department of Public Safety is trying a new approach of focusing resources and police manpower on 13 of the counties in the state that have the highest incidents of death and serious injury related to drunk driving collisions.
The state drew up a list of the thirteen counties that had the combination of the highest drunk driving deaths and drunk driving injuries last year. The unlucky counties are as follows:
3. St. Louis
13. Otter Tail
Among the new additions are Becker, Meeker and Otter Tail counties. These additions replaced the now slightly less dangerous counties of Carver, Rice and Scott.
The counties that made the state’s list of the worst combined to make up nearly half of the state’s total drunk driving deaths (160) and more than fifty percent of the injuries that resulted from drunk driving wrecks (436) that took place between 2009 and 2011. Minnesota has 87 counties, which means that these 13 counties collectively saw as many drunk driving deaths and serious injuries as the other 74 counties combined.
The state has decided it will allocate money to ensure that law enforcement agencies in those districts are able to maintain stepped up patrols throughout September of 2013. The money will come from a grant from the federal government aimed at curbing deaths associated with intoxicated driving.
The MN Department of Safety says that law enforcement agencies in the selected counties will begin using special techniques designed to raise public awareness about the campaign. These approaches include the use of electronic message boards and heavier than normal police presence on roadways throughout the region. Ads will also be placed across the state warning Minnesotans about the increased push to crack down on drunk drivers.
The Minnesota DPS chose Thanksgiving to roll out the new program because the holiday period typically has among the highest incidents of drunk driving each year. The Wednesday through Sunday period around Thanksgiving saw 11 deaths between 2009 and 2011, six of which were connected with a drunk driver. During that same period of time, the Thanksgiving holiday also resulted in 1,631 arrests for driving while intoxicated and is thus fertile ground for any overly zealous police officers.
Though it goes without saying, if you live in any of the above mentioned counties it certainly bears repeating that the harm associated with a DWI conviction is great and should be avoided at all costs. Between the thousands of dollars in fines, the loss of your driving privileges and possible jail time, a DWI can be a very expensive and painful proposition. Given the new federal grant to Minnesota, police departments in the selected areas will have additional money to devote to keeping their officers out on the roadways. The police will be looking for any sign of possible intoxication and you should take steps to ensure you are not caught up in their dragnet.
Source: “Washington County Makes the List for Most Drunk Driving Injuries, Fatalities,” by Hannah Gruber, published at Woodbury.Patch.com.