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400 arrested for DWI on St. Patrick's Day in Minnesota

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The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety reports approximately 400 DWI arrests during St. Patrick’s Day weekend (March 16 and 17).

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This arrest count is preliminary. The State Patrol reported one fatality on Sunday, it is unknown at this time if alcohol was a factor.

St. Patrick’s Day DWI Arrests, Last Five Years:

· 2008 (Monday) — 165

· 2009 (Tuesday) — 218

· 2010 (Wednesday) — 225

· 2011 (Thursday) — 287

· 2012 (Saturday) — 346

To-date in 2013, there have been 54 traffic deaths in Minnesota, down from 64 at this time last year.

Drunk Driving in Minnesota

In the last five years, 651 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Drunk driving deaths account for one-third of the state’s total deaths annually. Each year, nearly 30,000 people are arrested for DWI and one in seven Minnesota drivers has a DWI on record.

DWI Consequences

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.

Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving

· Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration. Those not planning to drink should let family/friends know if they are available to offer a safe ride home.

· Buckle up — the best defense 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.

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