2,400 arrested for DWI in monthlong enforcement blitz


More than 2,400 people were arrested for DWI in Minnesota between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) said 2,453 impaired drivers were arrested as part of the DWI enforcement campaign.

Office of Traffic Safety director, Donna Berger, said through a statement, "The number of arrests made last month shows that too many of our drivers still make poor choices about drinking an driving. Our goal with these enhanced enforcement campaigns is to keep our roads safer and and encourage drivers to make smarter decisions."

The Duluth News Tribune reports the numbers reveal DWI's from 347 different reporting agencies, including the Minnesota State Patrol.

Several counties held extra patrols with the effort including Anoka, Aitkin, Becker, Beltrami, Blue Earth, Carver, Cass, Crow Wing, Dakota, Hennepin, Itasca, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pine, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Sherburne, St. Louis, Stearns, Washington and Wright.

Those 25 counties accounted for 60 percent of the state's drunken-driving deaths and 71 percent of the state's serious, alcohol-related injuries reported from 2010-2012, according to the OTS.

The Minnesota State Patrol made 546 arrests for drunken driving in that time period, according to the report. While the Minneapolis Police Department made 86, followed by the St. Paul Police Department with 80 and Bloomington with 44.

The greater Minnesota agencies with the most arrests were the Wright County Sheriff's Department with 38. The Duluth Police Department with 32, the Carver County Sheriff's Department with 27 and the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Department with 24.

The numbers only showed a slight improvement over last year. OTS said in the similar December 2012 campaign 2,551 drivers were arrested for DWI. A similar crackdown in 2011 resulted in 2,600 arrests.

The Mankato Free Press reports that preliminary numbers from the Department of Traffic Safety indicate there were more than 24,000 DWI arrests in Minnesota in 2013.

That number could increase to 26,000 as data continues to come in and court cases are resolved, according to the newspaper.

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