Authorities launch statewide DWI crackdownby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Law enforcement officers across the state will work overtime in the next few weeks to keep drunk drivers off Minnesota's roads.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Friday that the crackdown includes 400 law enforcement agencies. It runs today through Labor Day.
Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol said while the enforcement action is expected to yield more arrests that usual, the goal of the program is awareness.
"Our strategy and goal is not to catch impaired drivers. Our true goal is to prevent impaired driving from occurring in the first place," Roeske said.
The crackdown, which is paid for by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is being held now because the last weekends of August have been the deadliest for drunken driving crashes, Roeske said.
During a news conference Friday, White Bear Lake Police Capt. John Swenson and Ramsey County Undersheriff George Altendorfer spoke directly to those who might drink and drive.
"All we are asking you to do is have a plan, a safe and sober plan, to get home," Swenson said. "Crash on a friend's couch so you don't crash on the road."
About 30,000 people are arrested each year in Minnesota for DWI. Law enforcement agencies in Minnesota receive about $800,000 in overtime money from the federal government each year to step up DWI enforcement.