Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn was very clear when I spoke to him earlier today about the upcoming DWI enforcement on roads across Minnesota.  I contacted the Sheriff because each year on the evening before Thanksgiving for the last few years the MADD organization helps to provide a pizza party for officers in the lower level of the Law Enforcement Center in Faribault.

Dunn said, "We simply have too many DWIs.  One is too many."

In addition to the party for Rice County Sheriff's Deputies, Police officers from Faribault, Northfield, Lonsdale and Dundas, Rice County Attorney John Fossum traditionally has gone on a ride along with a law enforcement official.

Rice County Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) Coordinator Kathy Cooper always releases new statistics concerning DWI in Minnesota and traditionally RIce County.  Some of those are included below.

Dunn told me there would be no get together in the bowels of the LEC due to COVID-19 but thankfully MADD and others are still providing pizzas for the officers putting in extra hours to make our roads safer during the holiday season.

Dunn says, "People need to plan ahead for a sober ride before they begin drinking.  Unfortunately too many people assume they will only have a few drinks and will be okay to drive home.  The false feeling that you are okay to get behind the wheel can lead to a lifetime of regret.  Always plan for a sober ride, whether you are at an establishment (which isn't allowed currently) or drinking at home or a friend's house."

Here are statistics released by TZD concerning DWI arrests.  Thanksgiving Eve through December 30th:

  • 2013          2,556 DWIs
  • 2014          2,565 DWIs
  • 2015          2,381 DWIs
  • 2016          2,271 DWIs
  • 2017          2,717 DWIs

Here is a listing of the holidays and percentage of drunk driving fatalities 2015 through 2019:

  • Cinco De Mayo     53.3%
  • St. Patrick's Day   50.0%
  • Memorial Day       37.5%
  • 4th of July             36.8%
  • Labor Day             26.1%
  • Halloween             23.3%
  • Thanksgiving        22.2%
  • New Year's           20.0%
  • Christmas             11.8%

Consequences if you are ticketed for DWI:

  • Loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars 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 ingition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year withour a driver's license.
  • First-time offenders arrested at 0.16 or higher are required to use interlock for one year.
  • Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Rice County TZD along with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Minnesota Department of Transportation says in the TZD information.

"The decision to get behind the wheel after drinking is costing too many people their lives.  The choice to drive drunk has contributed to 28 deaths on Minnesota roads from the day before Thanksgiving through December 30 (2012-2017)."


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