WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 04, 2012, 05:29 PM

State Troopers out in force to combat holiday weekend drunk drivers

(WDAY TV) -- The 4th is a time to celebrate our country, but it's also considered one of the most deadly on the roads.

(WDAY TV) -- The 4th is a time to celebrate our country, but it's also considered one of the most deadly on the roads.

Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant Chuck Backes has been busy patrolling the interstates and county roads near DL.

Chuck: "We are watching for people not paying attention, distracted driving is huge, no seat belts, thats a big thing, huge push in Minnesota with our primary law, we want you buckled up or you can expect a citation, speed, drive the speed limit, and avoid the drinking and driving."

In Minnesota Drinking and driving is a factor in nearly 66-percent of deaths during the 4th. Since 2009 there have been 15 traffic fatalities on the 4th in the state.

Chuck: "If you look at the 72 hour period around the 4th of July holiday that jumps up to 21 fatalities, 14 of those fatalities have been related to impaired driving, so that's two thirds, so that's what we are really trying to avoid. There are more deaths..."

Over the 4th of July holiday, arrests top 15-hundred for impaired drivers, But with a full staff, these troopers are looking to lower those numbers.

Chuck: "A lot of our tech Sargents that usually work Monday through friday Holidays, they're out working the road today since they don't have to do their office jobs on the holiday, so they're out working the road."

Although the holiday is falling on a Wednesday, you can expect increased patrols in both states throughout the weekend.

Robert Arman/ND Highway Patrol: "We are out there just mainly just trying to be visible and detour people from doing anything that they shouldn't be doing in the first place."

Trooper Robert Arman will also be on the look out in North Dakota. The North Dakota Highway Patrol will also be running a full staff over the weekend.

Robert: "We have extra patrols out if there is overtime, there is also every officer that is working today throughout the night into the morning hours, so we are extending our shifts."

Another major issue: speeding. Even if your driving just 5 miles over the speed limit, that wont stop you from getting a ticket.

Robert: "We are looking for people speeding, not wearing their seat belt, right of way violations, and if we run across someone that's impaired."

If you're traveling, Troopers just ask you to be responsible so everyone can celebrate our country safely.

On a typical weekend in Minnesota, troopers hand out about 2-hundred DWI's.