Troopers increasing patrols, free rides available New Year’s Eve as DWI arrests trend up
From someone leaving a birthday party to another found driving the wrong way on the interstate in Minneapolis with nearly triple the legal blood alcohol content, the Minnesota State Patrol has extra DWI enforcement this holiday season.
“We’re making these stops. We’re preventing those fatal and serious injury crashes or crashes,” Lieutenant Jill Frankfurth with State Patrol said.
Being a spokesperson wasn’t always Frankfurth’s role — she was on patrol for 10 years.
“One of the hardest parts of this job is going to somebody’s house, you know [during] the night, or in the morning, to tell them that their loved ones not coming home and the reason was because somebody made a really bad decision and got behind the wheel while they were impaired,” Frankfurth said.
Because of their messaging and campaigning around people not drinking and driving, Lt. Frankfurth is also frustrated with the number of DWI arrests troopers continue to make year after year. According to state data, there have been over 1,200 more DWI busts this year than last year.
- 2022: 25,464
- 2023: 26,738
MN State Patrol, as of 12/25/23 at 6:00 a.m.
“We want people to think before they get behind the wheel [and] make that plan ahead of time,” Frankfurth said.
Those plans can include a designated driver, calling a taxi, ordering an Uber or Lyft or taking public transportation, as Metro Transit is offering free rides starting at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve night.
“Who can beat free? No one,” Nikki Muehlhausen, with Metro Transit, said, adding people can just hop on one of their buses or trains… no ticket needed.
“Say you’re not necessarily drinking, but you also just don’t want to be driving around people who might have made a poor decision, [it’s a] super easy option,” Muehlhausen said.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority is also participating in the free rides that night. More information on how you can take advantage of it can be found here.