Extra DWI patrols in Morris beginning Aug. 16
MORRIS, Minn. -- Planning ahead for a sober ride now might be a good choice as Morris Police Department plans to crack down on drunk drivers during a stepped-up statewide and nationwide DWI enforcement effort, Aug. 16 to Sept. 2. The statewide campaign is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.
Each year in Minnesota, nearly 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI -- there were 42 arrests in Stevens County in 2012. During the last three years (2010 to 2012), 336 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in Minnesota -- 104 were killed in 2012 alone.
"Drinking and driving is always a bad idea, so the best course of action is to plan ahead for a sober ride," said Officer Reggie Welle. "Enforcement periods like this serve as a reminder to those who still don't realize the risks and dangers of driving drunk."
A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.
Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver's license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving
• Plan for a safe ride: designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
• Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
• Buckle up: the best defense against a drunk driver.
• Report drunk driving: call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
Officers are also encouraging seat belt use during the campaign. Each year 75 percent of drinking drivers killed are also not belted. Minnesota's primary seat belt law requires drivers and passengers in all seating positions -- including the back seat -- to be buckled up or in the correct child restraint. Law enforcement will stop and ticket unbelted drivers and passengers.