MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced its stepping up DWI enforcement beginning Friday and continuing through summer.
One Blue Earth County Sheriff’s deputy shared his experience of pulling over an impaired driver with his family in the vehicle and how the driver recently thanked him for saving his life.
“He told me that that day had changed his life around,” said deputy Chris Arkell. “His family didn’t know that he was a user of methamphetamine until he was arrested, and that helped him gain their support and get sober. He said that that not only changed his life to stay sober, but also to realize what’s more important about life. That actually really hit me hard to know that we’re out here. We say that we’re out here to save lives, but to actually have that feedback and to know who you’ve influenced really helps kind of bring it home.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, as of Aug. 10, there are 13, 816 DWI arrests compared to last year’s 16,811. The drop in arrests is partly due to Minnesota’s stay-at-home order contributing to less traffic.
After a drop in March and April, DWI arrests are on the rise.
“So if you are out on that lake, if you’re celebrating the end of summer, make sure you do it responsibly,” said Lt. Gordon Shank of the Minnesota State Patrol. “Find a sober ride, use rideshare, call a friend or even stay at a friend’s house. We ask that people drive smart and not make these decisions to drink and drive. Make sure you have a plan. Remember though, if you make this bad decision, you’re going to run into a DWI all-star, or another trooper, officer, deputy or someone else that’s going to arrest you if you’re driving impaired. Don’t take the risk and make sure you drive smart.”
“There are so many options out there that we can take advantage of,” said director of the Office of Public Safety Mike Hanson. “From Uber, from Lyft to having a designated driver. The key is to have a plan and stick to the plan so you don’t have to make that fateful decision to get behind the wheel when you are impaired.”
The extra DWI enforcement continues through Sept. 7 and the Labor Day weekend.