Northland Agencies Cracking Down on Drunken Drivers

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One out of every four deaths on Minnesota roads is DWI related.

In the last five years, there have been nearly 500 drunken driving deaths in Minnesota.

“St .Louis County has consistently been one of the top five deadliest counties in our state for impaired driving and deadly crashes,” Northeast Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths coordinator Holly Kostrzewski said.

Now Northland Minnesota law enforcement and Toward Zero Deaths stakeholders are kicking off a campaign to crack down on the amount of lives being lost due to drunken drivers.

Starting this weekend through Labor Day, authorities across Minnesota will conduct enhanced DWI enforcement with hundreds of agencies on the lookout for impaired drivers.

“Labor Day is the second deadliest holiday on Minnesota roads,” Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Neil Dickenson said, “as there have been 24 deaths in the last five years over Labor Day holiday alone.”

To amp up efforts even more, the Duluth Police Department is now one of 12 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota to hire a full time officer whose primary job is DWI enforcement.

From June 1 to August 9, the officer has already made 22 DUI arrests in Duluth.

“Law enforcement can only catch drunk drivers they see on the road, so all of us need to do our part,” Duluth Police Department Lt. Chad Nagorski said. “If you are with an impaired person about to get behind the wheel speak up and find them a safe ride home. If you see a drunk driver on the road call 911.”

Officers also recommend having a sober ride plan before heading out and requiring guests come to parties with a sober driver.

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