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DWI Arrests Spike During the Holidays in Minnesota

DWI Arrests Spike During the Holidays in Minnesota

Between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, 40% of traffic fatalities each year in Minnesota are linked to drunk driving.

Holiday Drunk Driving

Every year, the Holiday season accounts for a significant spike in drunk driving accidents across the country. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 285 fatalities related to drunk driving between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in 2018. Most of these deaths were 100% preventable by not drinking and driving.

In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in DWI crashes nationwide. In Minnesota, 480 drivers were arrested for DWI over the Thanksgiving holiday, and 117 drivers were cited for DWI between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. In 2017, there were nearly 25,000 people cited for DWI on Minnesota roads, and 2,656 were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Every holiday season, Minneapolis drunk driving lawyers see a rise in accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by drunk drivers.

According to, 28% of Americans admit they drink more during the holiday season. December has been the deadliest month for DWI-related traffic fatalities every year since 1999. Research shows that a spike in holiday drunk driving is related to:

  • Social events and holiday parties
  • Family gatherings
  • Restaurant and bar festivities
  • Holiday vacations and trips
  • Alcoholic holiday gifts
  • Time off from work or school 

In Minnesota, law enforcement agencies gear up for drunk drivers during the holidays. Police officers patrol roads and highways more aggressively during the holiday season because of spikes in DWI offenses. In 2018, a public safety campaign over the holidays resulted in more than 2,700 drunk driving arrests statewide. Over 300 Minnesota law enforcement agencies, including the Minneapolis Police Department and the University of Minnesota Police Department, worked together to reduce the number of holiday drunk drivers on Minnesota roads.

Minnesota law enforcement officers can arrest a driver on suspicion of DWI even if he/she has not been drinking. In Minnesota, DWI “driving while impaired” can be applied to a person who is taking legal prescription drugs or a person who is overly fatigued. The call is left to the arresting officer’s discretion. A Minnesota DWI arrest and conviction comes with steep fines and jail time. A drunk driving lawyer can often get DWI charges reduced or dismissed. 

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