Aug. 20—More than 16,000 people have been arrested this year for driving while impaired (as of Aug. 15). Driving while impaired doesn't just mean drinking alcohol and driving, it also includes drugs — legal or illegal. No matter the substance, impaired driving puts everyone on the road at risk.
To stop bad choices from jeopardizing lives as people enjoy the end of summer, troopers, deputies and officers will be participating in a DWI enforcement campaign Aug. 19-Sept. 5. It includes extra patrols, awareness and education. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) coordinates the campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Law enforcement will be looking for drivers who appear impaired, whether by alcohol or other substances. Driving while impaired by any substance is illegal. Drugged driving incidents are on the rise and it's a growing concern for Minnesota law enforcement.
"We've seen a spike in DWI arrests this year and a pretty significant increase in recent years with the number of drivers who are being arrested for drug-impaired driving," said DPS-OTS Director Mike Hanson. "Drivers need to be aware that cold medicine, prescription medication, recently legalized THC edible products or any other drug can contribute to impairment and a DWI. Driving while impaired can lead to an arrest, or even worse, serious injury or death. Don't take the chance. Always plan for a sober ride."
—During the last five summers (May-August), 203 people died in drunk driving-related crashes.
—More than one of every five deaths (23 percent) on Minnesota roads is drunk driving-related.
—Alcohol-related crashes not only take lives, they change them forever. Alcohol-related crashes cause an average of 344 life-changing injuries each year (2017-2021).
—Drugged driving accounted for 6,769 incidents from 2012-2016 compared with 15,133 from 2017-2021. That's a 123 percent increase over five years.