Star Tribune photo: Jeff Wheeler
When you think about holidays and celebrations that put the most drunk drivers on the roads, New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, Super Bowl and Thanksgiving weekend might come to mind.
Cinco de Mayo, observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 ranks up there as a big drinking day, too.
Between 2 and 3 people an hour are stopped for drunken driving on days the holiday is celebrated and those numbers go up when if falls on a weekend, like St. Paul's big shindig does this year, the Department of Public Safety said.
Last year alone, there were four fatal crashes that killed four people and 182 people arrested for driving while intoxicated on Cinco de Mayo and related celebrations, the Department of Public Safety said. Over the past five years, law enforcement has made 967 DWI arrests during Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
This weekend, law enforcement in 14 counties that have been dubbed the most dangerous for drunken driving will be out looking for tipsy motorists. Those counties include Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Anoka, St. Louis, Stearns, Washington, Wright, Otter Tail, Sherburne, Cass, Scott, Winona and Crow Wing.
Between 2013 and 2015, the 14 counties combined for 117 deaths and 379 injury crashes attributed to drunken driving. They also saw 50,494 arrests, or 67 percent of all DWI arrests in the state during that time period. There 87 counties in Minnesota.
Officials with the Department of Public Safety remind revelers to plan for a safe ride by using a designated driver or an alternate form of transportation such as ride hailing, taxi or public buses.
They also remind passengers to speak up and say something if they are riding with a drunk driver. People can also call 911 if they see a drunk driver on the roads, the DPS said.