Minnesota Cops Cracking Down On Drunk Drivers



By KBJR News 1

Story Published: Dec 4, 2009 at 5:48 PM CST
Story Updated: Dec 4, 2009 at 5:48 PM CST

Minnesota authorities are cracking down on impaired drivers this month.

Timed to coincide with the holiday season, a statewide campaign is underway in an effort to get drunk motorists off roadways.
"Alcohol-related crashes have been shown to be one of the number one causes for fatalities on area roadways," said Robert Herling of the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council.
Authorities say the state patrol is teaming up with about 400 law enforcement agencies for the December DWI crackdown.
And health experts say this time of the year, known for its festivities, is also especially hectic for hospitals.
"December in Minnesota is always our busiest month when it comes to motor vehicle crashes," said Chris Delp, M.D. of St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth.
When it comes to impaired driving, authorities say the month of December, is the busiest, and most tragic time on Minnesota roads.
"St. Louis county is one of the most dangerous counties we have in the State of Minnesota when it comes to alcohol-related crashes and deaths," said Sgt. Mark Baker of the Minnesota State Patrol.
The extra partying this time of the year also means more work for health professionals.
"Of all the major trauma victims that we see in the emergency department, almost 40 percent have alcohol levels well above the legal limit," said Delp.
Officials say alcohol-related traffic deaths reached a record low last year, but that doesn't mean authorities are taking it easy this season.
"Typically in Minnesota, about a third of our crashes involve alcohol," said Baker.
And medical experts say people need to be careful, if they make the decision to drink.
"As alcohol level increases, so does your risk of death, and it's almost a linear correlation," said Delp.
Authorities say over 35,000 people in Minnesota are arrested for DWI each year.