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Help every Minnesotan enjoy summer's last weekend with a sober ride

Sep 02, 2022 01:43PM ● By Editor
Photo: MN DPS

From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety • September 2, 2022

Summer's last hurrah is almost here. Labor Day weekend is a great time to kick back, relax and crack open a cold one and enjoy the summer weather before fall starts to set in.

There is no Labor Day sale on medical bills Drive sober Drive smart Extra enforcement now

If you do head out to a party this weekend, whether it's grilling in a friend's backyard, soaking in the sun and water at the lake cabin, or drinking at a favorite bar, make sure you have a sober ride home. To stop bad choices from jeopardizing lives as people enjoy the end of summer, troopers, deputies and officers are participating in a DWI enforcement campaign through Monday, Sept. 5. It includes extra patrols, awareness and education. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As of Aug. 29, more than 17,000 people were arrested this year for driving while impaired. Each DWI risks the loss of a license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time. Repeat offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above blood alcohol-concentration, must use an ignition interlock device to regain their driving privileges.

Even with all those costs, it's still better than what would happen if they got into a crash. Getting behind the wheel while impaired, whether it's by alcohol or other substances, is incredibly dangerous.

During the last five summers, 203 people died in drunk driving-related crashes. That means potentially 203 families left without someone they love, and hundreds of friends left without someone to confide in.

Alcohol-related crashes not only take lives, they also change them forever. Alcohol-related crashes cause an average of 344 life-changing injuries each year. Those crashes leave people with chronic pain, medical bills and other problems that follow them for years.

Don't think you're in the clear if you're using substances other than alcohol. Drugged driving accounted for more than 15,000 incidents from 2017-2021 -- a 123 percent increase over five years. Impaired is impaired and driving while under the influence of recently legalized THC edible products, cold medicine or any other drug can lead to an arrest, or even worse, serious injury or death.

The best way to save those lives is to have a sober driver. Either designate one from your group or plan for an alternative transportation option. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, speak up and get them a safe ride home.

Also, don't forget to buckle up. It's the best defense against impaired drivers.​

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