Despite warnings that authorities would be out in full force looking for impaired drivers over the holiday weekend, more than 400 Minnesotans were arrested for driving under the influence during the Memorial Day break.
Early estimates put the arrest total at 425, but that number could change. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety said if the number is correct, it represents a nearly 20 percent increase from 2013, when 360 individuals were arrested over Memorial Day Weekend.
In addition to DUI arrests, there were 466 reported traffic accidents on Minnesota roads over the three-day weekend. 228 accidents involved injury, and there have been conflicting reports over the number of traffic fatalities. The DPS OTS said three people died in traffic accidents, but an updated figure suggests that five people perished. In 2013, four individuals lost their lives over Memorial Day weekend.
“At this time, it’s uncertain if alcohol was a factor in any of the incidents,” said Criminal Attorney Avery Appelman. “With an increased amount of people on the roads for the holiday weekend, it’s important that people make smart decisions like having a sober driver and wearing their seat belt.”
At least one of the individuals was not wearing a seatbelt during their fatal accident. Authorities will continue to conduct their annual Click It or Ticket campaign through June 1, so buckle up every time you go for a drive.
If the five traffic death reports are accurate, that means Minnesota is on pace to have an uptick in road fatalities in 2014. So far, 113 people have lost their lives on Minnesota roads this year, one more than this time last year. Encouragingly, only five motorcyclists have died on the road so far this year, down from 10 at this point a year ago.