ST. PAUL -- More motorists saw the back seat of a squad car for drunk driving last month in a statewide DWI enforcement campaign, increasing over the same period in 2013, according to preliminary numbers from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.
Eighty-four more motorists were arrested for DWI from Nov. 26 to Dec. 31 than in 2013, according to the department.
However, overall, DWI arrests declined in Minnesota for the eighth consecutive year in 2014, with 1,500 fewer DWIs than in 2013, according to the department’s preliminary numbers.
The highest blood alcohol concentration recorded in the state during the campaign was a woman in Freeborn County, found passed out in her car with the engine running in a state trooper’s driveway, according to the department. She recorded a .45 blood alcohol concentration, more than five times the legal limit of .08, according to the department.
“Some might call it unlucky to pass out drunk in the driveway of a trooper, but this woman is very fortunate that she didn’t injure or kill herself or another motorist,” Minnesota State Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Tiffani Nielson said in a statement.
Drunk driving-related deaths dropped nearly 59 percent in a decade, from 196 deaths in 2003 to 81 deaths in 2013, according to the department.
“Drunk driving is a choice, a choice that can have life-altering consequences for you or others on the road. Even though we are encouraged by the declining DWI numbers, one drunk driver is one too many. Life has no rewind. Make the smart choice and plan for a sober ride,” department Director Donna Berger said in a statement.
To prevent drunk driving, the department suggests planning for a safe ride or offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up friends and family members anytime and anywhere.