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Extra DWI patrols for this Halloween weekend

Extra DWI patrols for this Halloween weekend

The scariest thing on Halloween isn’t your Zombie NFL Replacement Referee costume, it’s drunk driving — which has resulted in seven deaths and 24 serious, life-altering injuries during Halloween party weekends in the last five years.

Minnesota State Patrol troopers, county deputies and municipal officers are increasing their driving while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement presence this weekend. During Halloween party weekends, 2007–2011, 2,342 motorists were arrested for DWI. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety is coordinating the effort.

“One costume you don’t want to be wearing for Halloween is a county jail suit,” Jean Ryan, DPS impaired driving program coordinator said in an email release. “Before you plan what you’re wearing, plan a sober way home to avoid the dangers and consequences of a DWI.”

This weekend also wraps up a statewide, increased Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign.

Each year, around 30,000 motorists are arrested for DWI in Minnesota. Drunk driving crashes have resulted in 651 deaths during the past five years — 111 in 2011. In 2011, the average DWI offender was arrested with a 0.155 alcohol-concentration level.

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.

Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Prevent drunk driving by:

• Plan for a safe ride. Designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. Let family/friends know you are available to offer a safe ride home.

•Buckle up, the best defenses against a drunk driver.

• Report drunk driving. Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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