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Countywide DWI saturation nets 13 arrests in January

Extra Dakota County DWI enforcement campaigns in January resulted in 13 DWI arrests countywide. That number does not include the arrests made by officers that were working regular shifts for their cities.

Dakota County is among Minnesota's top 13 counties with the highest number of combined alcohol-related traffic deaths and serious injuries. Extra DWI patrols will saturate Dakota County roads through September, 2012.

In January of 2012, participating officers stopped 441 vehicles and issued 96 citations for traffic- and equipment-related violations. Police officers from Rosemount participated.

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time. Stronger sanctions are in effect for all repeat DWI offenders, as well as for motorists arrested for a first-time DWI with an alcohol-concentration level of 0.16 and above. Under these sanctions, DWI offenders must use ignition interlock for at least a year or face at least one year without driving privileges. Interlock requires the driver to provide a breath sample under 0.02 for the vehicle to start.

Alcohol-related crashes resulted in an average of 170 deaths during the last five years in Minnesota -- accounting for one-third of all road deaths. Each year in Minnesota, more than 30,000 people are arrested for DWI.

The 13 counties accounted for nearly half of the state's alcohol-related deaths (202) and half of the state's serious injuries (462) during 2008-2010: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington, and Wright.

The enhanced DWI patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. The DWI patrols are a component is a component of the state's core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes -- education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.