DPS concerned by rise in drugged driving; extra patrols planned

Minnesota law enforcement officers are getting ready for extra patrols targeting impaired driving.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) says more than 16,000 people have been arrested this year in Minnesota for DWI.

While alcohol is often focused on, DPS reminded Minnesotans that driving while impaired by drugs — legal or illegal — can be just as dangerous and is against the law.

From Aug. 19 through Sept. 5, troopers and law enforcement agencies across the state will be working to stop impaired drivers and get them off the road.

“We’ve seen a spike in DWI arrests this year and a pretty significant increase in recent years with the number of drivers who are being arrested for drug-impaired driving,” DPS Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson said. “Drivers need to be aware that cold medicine, prescription medication, recently legalized THC edible products or any other drug can contribute to impairment and a DWI. Driving while impaired can lead to an arrest, or even worse, serious injury or death. Don’t take the chance. Always plan for a sober ride.”

According to DPS, 6,769 drugged driving incidents were recorded between 2012 and 2016. That increased to 15,133 incidents between 2017 and 2021, a 123% increase.

Authorities encourage Minnesotans to plan a sober ride or use an alternative option if consuming alcohol or drugs.