Mixing Ice and Booze -- Drunk Driving Crackdown in MN - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Mixing Ice and Booze -- Drunk Driving Crackdown in MN

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Mixing ice with booze sounds like a great idea for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But not if you're traveling over the Red River Valley's ice- and snow-covered roads, on what's historically one of the deadliest weekends for road travelers. That history, and a recent study that identified the most dangerous counties in the state for drunk driving fatalities, has prompted Minnesota state patrol officers to engage in a drunk-driving crackdown that kicks off this weekend and runs for nearly an entire year.

"Rural roads are particularly bad in the state for drunk driving fatalities, especially when people aren't wearing their seat belts," says Sgt. Jesse Grabow, who says the number of people speeding sped up as of his shift on patrol the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. "But when you mix that with drunk driving, it's a recipe for disaster."

Grabow says most people he pulled over, when asked why they were speeding, said they were in a hurry to get to their Thanksgiving celebrations. That was before the storm hit, the one that dropped snow and ice on Red River Valley roadways and slowed interstate traffic to a thirty to forty mile per hour crawl. It also caused 186 crashes; fortunately, none of them involved serious injury.

The study that was recently released by the DOT that prompted the crackdown identified Becker and Otter Tail Counties as being among the thirteen counties in the state that had almost half the state's drunk driving fatalities. The state drunk driving blitz is set to continue through September of next year.

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