St. Patty’s Day is notorious for binge drinking, green beer and celebrating with friends. It is also one of the worst days for drunk driving.
Drunk driving arrests were up 44 to 400 during St. Patty’s weekend 2013.
This is disappointing for many officers, who celebrated after reporting less DWIs than previous recent years over the New Year’s celebration. Here are the DWI results of the last five St. Patty’s Day celebrations:
2008 (Monday) – 165
2009 (Tuesday) – 218
2010 (Wednesday) – 225
2011 (Thursday) – 287
2012 (Saturday) – 346
Arrests over St. Patty’s day weekend are trending upward, which is something police officers are hoping to curb for next years celebration.
South central Minnesota reported 10 cars off road, with seven property damage crashes. There was one fatality in the state during the weekend, but it isn’t yet clear whether or not alcohol was a factor in that accident. Overall the state is doing better with fatal crashes down 10 from last year at 54.
According to Nathan Bowie of the department of public safety, 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.
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.
When going out for a drink, it is important to find a designated sober driver. Drunk driving is still a major issue in Minnesota. Drivers are urged to call-in anyone they suspect of driving drunk and to always remember to wear their seatbelts. As always, drinking and driving is a poor decision that puts innocent lives in danger.