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State Patrol upping DWI enforcement for Labor Day

Minnesota State Patrol will be upping its DWI enforcement for the Labor Day holiday starting Friday, Aug. 18. More than 300 law enforcement agencies, including police, sheriff and State Patrol, will be working hard to stop DWIs.

In the last five years, 16 percent of all fatal crashes were drunk driving-related during the Labor Day holiday, making it the sixth deadliest major holiday on Minnesota roads. Each year, more than 25,000 arrests are made, meaning three DWI arrests are given per hour.

Overtime shifts during the extra enforcement are funded through the Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety, along with funding from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Fortunately, DWIs in the state are starting to trend downward. Preliminary numbers showed 25,399 arrests were made in 2014. The number marginally decreased in 2015 to 25,336. However, last year's total indicated a significant decrease of 23,392 arrests.

According to the Goodhue County Attorney's Office, DUI and related crimes were at 62 arrests for 2016. This was a small decrease from 2015 (69 arrests). Nearly 266,000 drivers in Minnesota have more than one DWI on their record.

"Through education and enforcement, most Minnesotans are making the right choice when it comes to lining up a sober ride. The state has seen a steady decline in DWI arrests over the past 10 years, but we still have a long ways to go," said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. "One drunk driver is one too many."

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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