Lots of people were arrested for driving drunk over the holidays – and some of them were really drunk.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says 2,407 people were arrested for DWIs during an extra enforcement campaign that ran on the weekends and holidays from Nov. 23 to Dec. 30. That's down from the 2,502 drunken driving arrests made during the 2015 extra enforcement campaign.
That includes 11 people who were arrested with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.3 or above – that's about four times the legal limit of 0.08 – and equivalent to a 175-pound man having more than 10 drinks, on average, the University of Notre Dame's website shows.
When someone has a BAC that high, it puts them in the danger zone for alcohol poisoning, losing consciousness, and even dying, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says. According to Brad21, a BAC of 0.30 puts someone in a stupor – they have little comprehension of where they are – and a BAC of 0.35 is the same level as surgical anesthesia.
To put those symptoms into perspective, check out this video state officials released in December. It shows a truck driver swerving and weaving down the highway and smashing through a sign – and then the driver fell out of his truck when police pulled him over. He had a BAC of 0.28.
“Drunk driving at any level puts people at risk, whether it’s 0.08 or 0.30. The higher BAC amounts are scary to see but the dangers are very real at lower levels as well," Donna Berger, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety, told GoMN. "You can kill or seriously injure yourself or others at any level of impairment. The message is simple – plan a sober ride and speak up if someone has been drinking and thinks they’re OK to drive.”
The number of people who got behind the wheel with a 0.30 or higher during the extra enforcement campaign was fewer than the roughly 20 drinkers who decided to drive with a BAC that high – or higher – during the 2015 holiday season.
Here are some other findings from the 2016 holiday DWI crackdown:
- A Jordan officer saw a 40-year-old man driving the wrong way down the road with an 11-year-old boy in the car. He had a BAC of 0.25 when he was arrested.
- A St. Paul police officer was bringing his second DWI arrest of the night to jail when he saw another motorist driving erratically. When he stopped the vehicle, the driver and passenger switched spots – both of them were arrested for driving drunk.
- While a St. Paul officer was arresting someone, the officer's squad car was hit by another vehicle that fled. Police tracked down the driver, who had a BAC of 0.245.