As of December 15, 2010, there had already been a staggering 675 DWI arrests in the state of Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS). That’s an average of 45 DWI arrests per day!
Only 170 of the 400 law enforcement agencies involved in the campaign reported their DWI arrests through the first half of the month. Assuming that the other 57.5% of agencies are delivering similar figures, the number presumably increases to about 1500 DWI arrests! If the arrests continue at this rate, Minnesota law enforcement could very well break the record for the most DWIs issued in a single month.
The increased arrests are part of a month-long, state-wide DWI crackdown by Minnesota law enforcement officials. The campaign continues through New Year’s Eve and is supported by $350,000 in federal funding to pay for 7,000 extra hours of enforcement.
Last year in Minnesota, 140 people died and 400 were injured in drunk-driving accidents. These figures have been declining over the past few years. Experts at the DPS cite DWI enforcement campaigns as being instrumental in this decline.
December is also National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, which is surely not a coincidence.
If Minnesota law enforcement breaks the record for the most DWIs issued in a single month, what does that say about drunk driving in Minnesota? Is the problem that serious? Or are MN law enforcement officials circling their prey like vultures, waiting for them to screw up?