The National Safety Council estimates the cost of alcohol-related crashes in Minnesota was nearly $290 million in 2017. In the same year, 21 percent of serious injuries sustained in crashes and 31 percent of traffic crash fatalities were alcohol-related. The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has a mandate to promote the safety of those who use public roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides federal funding to the OTS to design and implement public education and traffic law enforcement programs to fulfill this mandate. To address the ongoing issue of drunk driving, the OTS offers a program supporting full time officers dedicated to DWI enforcement.
Fridley was awarded a federally financed grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to employ a full time DWI officer. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) accepted proposals from law enforcement agencies from the top twenty counties with the most impaired-related deaths and serious injuries in Minnesota. Anoka County had the third highest rate of such incidents, falling under only Hennepin and Ramsey County. Fridley has seen a 17.1 percent increase in DWI incidents from 2017 to 2018.
The DWI officer will be used to increase driver and pedestrian safety on our roads by taking drunk/impaired drivers off the streets. This is part of a bigger picture initiative known as Toward Zero Deaths (TZD), which works to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota by supporting a goal of zero road fatalities.