As always, if you're going out drinking, make sure you have a sober ride home. There will be extra DWI patrols on Minnesota roads starting Wednesday. They'll be out, paying extra close attention to drivers every weekend through Dec. 30.
If you do end up driving somewhere and having a few drinks, just leave your car where it's at and find a sober ride home. You can always get it in the morning.
“It’s way more valuable to us for our customers to be safe than to have an open parking space at our establishment,” said Emily Brink of The Happy Gnome in St. Paul.
When you go back to pick up your vehicle, you might even find a nice little note on it: “Thank you for deciding not to drink and drive. Your life and the lives of others depend on making the right choice.”
Vehicles left overnight at Twin Cities establishments will have that message left on them to thank customers for being responsible.
It's part of the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety holiday campaign to get more people to find a sober ride home.
“It just takes that one moment, that one time to shatter a life forever,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “If you are truly someone’s friend or a family member of someone who is impaired, you won’t let them get behind the wheel this holiday season.”
DWI arrest numbers
The last time patrols buckled down on DWI offenses came during the weeks leading up to Labor Day.
From 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.
The department says drivers seem to pay attention to warnings when extra patrols are out. Last year, November and December were the months with the fewest DWI arrests. Still, there were 1,931 and 1,876 arrests respectively.
Last year, August saw the most DWI arrests with 2,450 people.
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 (that’s above 0.08).
Another 2,203 people had serious injuries from an alcohol-related crash.
Drunk driving is not worth the risk. Apart from putting yourself and other people on the road in danger, there are some serious consequences.
You could lose your license for up to a year, have to pay thousands of dollars in costs and even serve time in jail.
Repeat DWI offenders – and first-time offenders arrested with high enough alcohol concentration levels – will be required to use a breathalyzer just to start their vehicle, or face at least one year without a driver’s license.
People with three or more offenses have to use that breathalyzer for three to six years or will never drive again.