Drunken driving cases drop to 20-year low

Published 10:10 am Thursday, September 4, 2014

ST. PAUL — The number of arrests and criminal convictions for drunken driving in Minnesota has dropped to the lowest level in 20 years.

Authorities credit changing attitudes about driving drunk and improved enforcement for the decline.

About 25,700 people were arrested for drunken driving in Minnesota last year. That compares with a 20-year high of nearly 42,000 in 2006. Criminal convictions dropped to about 19,000 in 2013 — also a 20-year low.

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Despite the improvement, State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske says Minnesota’s numbers aren’t low enough. He tells the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1rO28f5 ) some drivers are dealing with chemical dependency and others simply don’t care about the consequences of driving drunk.

Statistics show that of the state’s 4 million licensed motorists, one in seven has a drunken driving conviction.