We warned you that police would be out and about last weekend looking for drunk drivers, but sadly, it appears that message did not hit home with many drivers. That’s because the Minnesota State Patrol announced that the preliminary numbers suggest 503 people were arrested for drunk driving over the long holiday weekend.
If the numbers are correct, that represents a stark increase from just last year. In 2016, 412 people were arrested during the same period, meaning we witnessed a 22 percent increase in drunk driving arrests during the 4th of July this year.
Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said the increased number of arrests were due in part to more effective enforcement campaigns throughout the state, but they also suggest that many people are making poor decisions behind the wheel.
“There was a lot of extra enforcement, which may speak to the higher number, but there’s still  people making the bad decision to drink and drive,” said Lt. Tiffani Nielson with the Minnesota State Patrol.
The Fourth of July holiday is routinely one of the most dangerous stretches of the year on Minnesota roads. Over the last five years, 2,016 people were arrested for driving under the influence during the Fourth of July holiday crackdown. According to the State Patrol, the Fourth of July is the second leading holiday for DUI arrests per hour in Minnesota (New Year’s is number 1).
And unfortunately, while some people are walking away in handcuffs, some people aren’t walking away at all. Drunk driving has contributed to the deaths of 21 people over the last five years during the Fourth of July holiday, including six people just last year. Oftentimes the drivers aren’t the ones that feel the effects, as three motorcyclists, one pedestrian, one biker and one farm equipment operator were the six people who lost their lives last Fourth of July due to inebriated drivers. Three more motorcyclists died this Fourth of July, but authorities say it’s still to early to discuss whether alcohol contributed to their accident.
So while the Fourth of July holiday weekend is in the rearview mirror, Labor Day is right around the corner. That means we’ll have another long weekend, which gives drivers more time to make poor decisions. Police regularly run another DUI enforcement campaign during Labor Day weekend, so consider this your early heads up. They will be out there. We hope you make the smart decision and don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking, but if you make a mistake and end up in handcuffs, give Appelman Law Firm a call. We specialize in handling DUI cases, and we can help you retain your license and put the mistake in the past. Reach out to us today at (952) 224-2277.