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1,351 people in Minnesota were arrested for DWI – in just 18 days

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Police officers, deputies and troopers around Minnesota spent the weeks leading up to Labor Day cracking down on drunken driving.

And once again hundreds of drivers were arrested– some with stories that would make you nervous to be on the road.

During the extra enforcement period – Aug. 19 through Labor Day – law enforcement made 1,351 DWI arrests, according to a Department of Public Safety news release. That's an average of 75 DWI arrests every single day during that time.

That included at least seven instances of drivers recording a blood alcohol concentration of 0.30 or higher (remember, the legal limit is 0.08).

  • 0.38 – White Bear Lake Police Department
  • 0.36 – Rochester Police Department
  • 0.33 – Bloomington Police Department
  • 0.32 – Minnesota State Patrol in Oakdale; Red Lake Tribal Police; and St. Francis Police Department
  • 0.31 – Owatonna Police Department

Some of the arrests included:

– A man in Winona who was drunk, with his also-drunk brother in the passenger seat, was arrested for DWI. That brother was then arrested for DWI as well, an hour later, in the same car.

– A drunk driver in Hutchinson who tried to drive through a roundabout and got stuck.

– And a motorist in Two Harbors who, while fleeing police, hit a fire truck and squad car. The driver hit two more squad cars during the pursuit as well.

Within the Twin Cities area, the State Patrol that covers Oakdale had the most violations with 89. The State Patrol in Golden Valley had 67, with Minneapolis and St. Paul police at 26 and 15 respectively.

In Greater Minnesota, the State Patrol and Rochester PD combined to arrest 61 people for DWI. St. Cloud police recorded 20.

Impaired driving is a problem

In 2015, the Department of Public Safety says 411 people died in crashes on Minnesota roads. And of those, there were 95 fatalities in cases where the driver was over the legal alcohol limit.

Another 2,203 people had serious injuries from an alcohol-related crash.

Young men were most often the ones getting in trouble for impaired driving.

You can read more about impaired and drunken driving in Minnesota last year here.

"People can overestimate their driving skills and think they’re OK to drive after drinking," said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director, in the department's news release. "They’re not OK, and we need the awareness and enforcement to influence Minnesotans for the safety of all on the road."

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