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In an effort to continue their goal of zero deaths in Minnesota, the state patrol department has announced that they will be adding extra DUI patrols this weekend.
There have been 11 traffic deaths in Minnesota over the last five years during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. Law enforcement officials are concerned about the holiday this year because St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday. Some believe this may lead to residents partying throughout the whole weekend.
Also concerning is the Department of Public Safety records from past holiday weekends. According to the report, DWI arrests on St. Patrick’s Day have gone up every year since 2008.
“We would rather not have to make arrests or have needless tragedies occur, but people need to plan ahead especially because of the potential for a weekend-long celebration,” said Duluth State Patrol District Lt. Jason Hanson.
Although the state department has not announced which roads will be receiving extra attention, they said their goal is to continue working Towards Zero Deaths (TZD). The extra shifts will begin on Friday and extend into the early hours of Monday morning.
As is the case with most holiday weekends, drivers are asked to plan ahead or use alternate methods to get home. Drivers are also encouraged to report any suspected drunk drivers to help keep the roads safe.
Although we’ve written about similar ways to get home safely during the winter season, we’ve updated out list for St. Patty’s day. Below are four ways to get home safely this weekend.
1. Plan a Sober Ride – Designate a driver before the night begins so you know you’re getting home safe. Remember, a designated driver isn’t the St. Patty’s partier who “stops drinking early”. Encourage the designated driver to drink non-alcoholic concoctions.
2. Take a Cab – Taking a cab is another way to get home safe. If you don’t know the number of a taxi company, ask a bartender to call one for you. Taxis will be all over during the holiday weekend, so you and your friends should be able to grab one with ease. You can even ask that the cab company send a van if you are going out with a group. Not only will this get your whole party home safely, but it will also cut down on the price if everyone chips in a few bucks.
3. Public Transportation – Public transportation is another great way to get around, and it is usually a really cheap option. Fares for buses or light rails usually cost between $1-$3, but on Saturday, both are FREE after 6 pm. Nearly every bus or rail can get you within walking distance of your house if you live in the metro area, so leave your car at home and enjoy the free ride.
4. Walk – According to DWI statistics, the majority of drunk driving accidents occur within five miles of an offender’s home. While a five mile walk may be out of the question, especially since Saturday’s high temperature is going to be almost 50 degrees cooler than last year, consider walking home if you aren’t too far away. Most bars allow you to park overnight without penalty because they respect the fact that you made the wise decision to walk instead of drive. Keep an extra coat in your car in case you have one too many and decide to walk home.
Related source: Star Tribune