Law enforcement to increase patrols across MN, IA for Labor Day weekend

(ABC 6 News) – Labor Day is the known for being the “unofficial” end to summer as thousands of people try to sneak one last barbecue or road trip in before fall and colder weather arrives.

According to AAA, 32% of Americans will travel over the Labor Day weekend with 80% of those by vehicle.

AAA indicates the 100 deadliest days of the year occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) during the 2020 Labor Day holiday period (September 4 – September 8), there were 530 traffic fatalities nationwide. 

A total of 46% of those fatalities involved drivers who had been drinking, and more than one-third (38%) of the fatalities involved drivers who were over the legal limit.  

The Iowa Department of Transportation reports seven fatalities occurred over the 2021 Labor Day holiday period while the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety reported four fatalities over the same period.

In Iowa, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau will be supporting law enforcement with extra officers patrolling during the 2022 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign that runs until September 5 in order to help prevent any driving fatalities.

According to the Minnesota Office of Public Safety, more than 16,000 people have been arrested this year for driving while impaired (as of Aug. 15) which doesn’t just mean drinking alcohol and driving, it also includes drugs — legal or illegal.

Law enforcement considers this time of the year a ‘DWI wave.’ says Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson. “The end of summer, state fair, preparing for school, all the different things, and then leading up to Labor Day is a DWI wave. Which there are others throughout the year, but this a focus point because this a great concern obviously. Lot of people traveling, lot of people going different places.”

RELATED: Minnesota law enforcement increase patrol on roads

The Olmsted County Sheriff says his office and Rochester police will use grant money to fund extra patrols solely looking for dangerous drivers.

The extra enforcement goes through Labor Day.