A recent investigation by the local Minneapolis CBS affiliate discussed the dangerous trend of morning drunk driving arrests. While everyone knows about the thousands of people pulled over by police officers each year for impaired driving, many people who understandably assume these arrests take place on the weekend and late at night.
While it is true that the majority of arrests take place overnight, a surprisingly large number happen during daylight hours, when many people least expect to encounter a drunk driver. However, just because the public may not expect to meet a drunk driver does not mean police are not aware of the trend, in fact, some interviewed in the article begin their shifts specifically by looking for day drunk drivers.
WCCO, a local news station, spent several days following along with police officers in Eagan, MN who said that looking for impaired drivers is one of their main responsibilities. Several also explained that part of that job entails watching out for drunk drivers during the daytime. One officer interviewed in the piece said his strategy is to simply drive around town and keep an eye out for erratic or overly cautious motorists.
Another officer had a more strategic plan for catching day drunk drivers. The officer told reporters that he likes to drive through several busy areas where such impaired drivers might be lurking. At the beginning of every shift the officer does a loop through restaurant and bar districts, checking to be sure that no one is asleep in their cars. At the same time the officer watches for people who appear to be heading to pick up their vehicles from the night before. The officer admitted that even people who made the responsible choice and took a cab home the night before may not yet be totally sober and that they are sometimes targets for daytime stops.
Officers agreed that morning drunk drivers often fall into one of two categories: chronic alcoholics who never stop drinking and those who get back behind the wheel too soon after a wild night, before the alcohol has had a chance to totally wear off.
In the past year, the Minnesota State Patrol says its officers have made nearly 6,700 drunk driving arrests across the state. Of that total, five percent took place between 5 in the morning and 11 a.m. Officers say they are now trying to educate the public about the danger of morning drunk driving to encourage the public’s help in spotting dangerous drivers.
Erratic driving during the day seldom warrants much attention from motorists while that same behavior at night might prompt drivers to call 911. Police say they hope that people realize the danger of morning drunk driving and that concerned drivers report erratic behaviors to law enforcement agencies. State Patrol says that such tips from worried drivers are a crucial component of their DWI enforcement strategy and account for between 25 and 30 percent of all DWI arrests.
For additional information on this topic or other subjects related to DWI and alcohol driving offenses, please visit us at www.kanslaw.com.
Source: “MN State Patrol: Report Morning Drunk Drivers,” by Rachel Slavik, published at Minnesota.CBSLocal.com.