Safety encouraged for New Year’sPublished 11:00am Thursday, December 27, 2012
One of the most widely recognized “drinking holidays” is approaching, and while it might be fun to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, all are cautioned to be safe and comply with Minnesota laws regarding drunk driving — it may save a life.
“The Sheriff’s department is continuing the additional patrols we’ve been running through holidays, checking for DWI’s and seat belt safety,” said Administrative Lt. Matt McGuire.
There will be extra deputies out on patrol over the New Year holiday weekend.
“Because we are one of the 13 deadliest counties, there is extra money allocated for night shifts in our program, “Toward Zero Deaths,’” said Deputy Jake Grabow. “We have seen a decrease in DWI’s and deaths since last year, so hopefully people are making wiser decisions regarding drinking and driving and finding a safe ride home.”
Throughout Minnesota, law enforcement is working overtime to crack down on drunk drivers during the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
In the last three Decembers, 28 people were killed in drunk driving crashes and 7,497 were arrested for DWI in Minnesota.
“A DWI is certain to ruin the holidays, but thankfully these motorists were taken off the road before they caused real and direct harm to another motorist,” Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol said in a news release. “There’s no excuse for drunk driving. There are plenty of safe alternatives.”
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time.
Repeat offenders, as well as first time offenders arrested at 0.16 alcohol-concentration level or above, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver’s license.
Those with three or more offenses are required to use ignition interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
The state patrol have offered several tips to enjoy a safe New Year’s. Everyone who thinks they might be drinking should plan a safe ride by planning a sober driver, using a taxi or public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration. Those who have quieter plans for the night should let family and friends know they area available to offer a safe ride home.
AAA suggests drivers do not get behind the wheel after any alcohol — even one drink. And never ride with someone who has been drinking.
For those who do not plan to drink, it is still important to be aware that the likelihood that there will be drunk drivers on the road is fairly high. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the best defense against drunk drivers is to buckle up. It is also important for these drivers to report impaired driving. Call 911, and be prepared to provide the location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
According to Minnesota law, driving with an alcohol-concentration of 0.08 is considered drunk driving. While there is no system that can be perfect in predicting blood alcohol-concentration, it is generally assumed that driving should still be legal after two standard drinks in one hour. The following are considered standard drinks:
• One 16 ounce cup of beer
• 7 ounces of malt liquor
• One 4.5 ounce glass of wine
• One jigger (1.25 ounces) of 80 proof liquor
It should be noted, however, that some mixed drinks may be enough to put a person over the legal limit after just one.
While heading out to celebrate the coming of a new year, keep in mind that lives could be saved by taking simple safety precautions and obeying the law.