“Blackout Wednesday” Rivals Most Dangerous Holiday Travel Days
Holiday DWI enforcement will be stepped up in Minnesota beginning Wednesday. At a news conference in St. Paul on Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety made it crystal clear – holiday cheer can quickly become holiday carnage if people drink and drive.
There were 28 alcohol-related traffic deaths between 2013 and 2017 during the extra holiday DWI enforcement period.
“My recommendation would be if you have anything to drink plan ahead, plan a sober ride,” said Brooklyn Center police officer Munawar Hussain. “Don’t even get behind the wheel of your vehicle because I can tell you youR consequences are a lot more severe than paying for that Uber, getting a cab or staying where you are.”
Officers and troopers from all across Minnesota formed a back drop for the press event, including some from Brooklyn Center, Crystal, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.
They will be out in full force beginning Wednesday night, which is also known as “Blackout Wednesday,” an evening when many people binge drink. The night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest drinking days and most dangerous travel days of the year. According to the State Patrol, it rivals New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day.
In a 12-hour period on Blackout Wednesday last year, there were 133 DWI arrests. In a 48-hour period on a typical Wednesday to Thursday the total is approximately 100.
DWIs Are Preventable
There are no excuses for driving while intoxicated because it it entirely preventable, say state troopers.
“There’s times when I have arrested people on a night before Thanksgiving and they do not get to go home to their family because they sit in jail during Thanksgiving,” said Lt. Gordon Shank with the Minnesota State Patrol. “I’ve also been on the other side and I’m sure other officers, troopers and deputies could attest to this. I’ve had to tell families that their family member will never come home for the holidays again. That sticks with me and it never goes away. I don’t want that to happen. I want people to have a good holiday and enjoy it with the family which is what it is meant for.”
Besides the rick factor of drinking and driving, there is also the expense factor. Getting a DWI could wind up costing thousands of dollars in fines and fees for the person involved.