Minnesota has seen some spikes and declines in recent years when it comes to drinking and driving around the holidays. For example, although we saw an increase in total DUI arrests during the recent holiday season compared to the same stretch in 2016, there was a noticeable decline in year-to-year DUI arrests on New Year’s Eve, suggesting that people were at least getting the message that police would be out in full force on certain holidays and weekends, which would lead to better choices.
Apparently revelers of St. Patrick’s Day didn’t get that message this year, as 424 individuals were arrested for impaired driving during the statewide three-day DUI enforcement. The 424 arrests completed between 6 p.m. on Friday and 4 a.m. on Monday were a huge spike from the 331 such arrests made during the same time frame last year. That represents a 28 percent increase in DUIs over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend.
Why The Increase?
It seemed like people had been getting the message that police would be out conducting extra patrols, so why did we see such a big spike in DUIs during St. Patrick’s Day this year? Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Robert Zak said he believes the fact that the actual holiday fell on a Saturday contributed to more people making poor decisions.
“It’s frustrating because it is totally preventable,” Zak said. “Everybody knows not to drink and drive, but people still do it. The bottom line is people need to make the right decision.”
It’s especially preventable because other organizations have made it easier for people to get home safely. Bars encourage patrons to leave their cars in their parking lot if they’ve had too much to drink, and Metro Transit teamed up with Miller Lite to offer free rides on St. Patrick’s Day. In the past, the free ride program has provided more than 60,000 free rides to help people get home safe.
St. Patrick’s Day has historically been one of the most dangerous holidays on Minnesota roads. When looking at the average number of DUI arrests per hour, St. Patrick’s Day ranks third, trailing only Labor Day and the Fourth of July for the most drunk driving arrests per hour.
If you or someone you know was arrested for driving under the influence over the weekend, be sure that they get in contact with Avery Appelman and the team of lawyers at Appelman Law Firm. As we explain in this post, hiring a lawyer to fight your DUI case can actually save you money in the long run. Check out that post, then give us a call at (952) 224-2277.