Drunken driving deaths down 40% from 2002

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety last week released final 2011 drunken driving data that is highlighted by 111 drunken driving deaths, marking a 40 percent reduction in such deaths from 185 in 2002.

Despite progress, drunken driving remains a top public safety threat according to DPS officials. Each year, drunken driving crashes account for a bulk — one-third — of the state’s total traffic deaths. The drunken driving problem is underscored in that 29,257 Minnesotans were arrested for DWI in 2011, one in seven drivers has a DWI on his or her record, and 1,265 Minnesotans have 10 or more DWIs.

In Minnesota during 2007–2011, 651 people were killed in drunken driving crashes — an average of 130 deaths annually.

During this same period 166,962 motorists were arrested for DWI.

“The progress we’ve made to limit drunk driving deaths is far eclipsed by the tragedies created by this behavior every year,” says Jean Ryan, impaired driving programs coordinator at DPS. “Enforcement and education efforts are leading the change in behavior, but it takes everyone’s committed responsibility to stop these preventable deaths.”

In addition to enforcement and education, Ryan says innovative initiatives and legislation are supporting the movement against impaired driving:

The state’s ignition interlock program provides for sober and legal driving for DWI offenders; more than 4,000 motorists are using interlock in Minnesota. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Other measures include DWI courts, plate impoundments, safe cab programs and initiatives like Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

DWI Courts are dedicated to changing the behavior of hardcore offenders using a cooperative approach that includes all members of the criminal justice system.

Plate Impoundment removes the license plates from a vehicle until the person driving the vehicle is legally licensed to drive.

2011 statistics

—368 people died in traffic crashes in Minnesota, and 111 (30 percent) were crashes involving drunken drivers.

—86 (77 percent) of the 111 drunken driving deaths occurred outside the Twin Cities’ metro — Greater Minnesota accounted for 236 fatal crashes, of which 33 percent involved a drunken driver.

—29,257 motorists were arrested for DWI, translating to 81 DWI arrests a day. There were 29,918 arrests in 2010; 32,756 arrests in 2009; 35,736 in 2008; and 38,635 in 2007. The Twin Cities’ metro area and the 80-county Greater Minnesota each accounted for about half of all 2011 DWI arrests.

—1 in 7 seven current Minnesota drivers (570,191) has a DWI on record, and 1 in 17 has two or more DWIs. In the state, 1,265 Minnesotans have 10 or more DWIs.

—40 percent of those who incur one violation will incur a second within 15 years of their first arrest.

—Males accounted for 73 percent of all DWIs.

—Motorists ages 20–29 represented 42 percent of DWI arrests. One in 15 of the arrests were motorists under age 21.

—59 percent of violators were first-time offenders, yet 12,103 (41 percent) had at least one prior DWI at the time of arrest.

—50 percent of the DWI arrests were made on Saturdays and Sundays.

Mower County

Physical access leads to dropping of barriers for young athletes

Education

Austin MAAP Stars advisor receives state recognition

Mower County

National Nurses Week: Finding a place exactly where she wanted to be

Mower County

Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, Austin earns top marks for patient safety

Education

Austin Online Academy receives Star of Innovation Award

Mower County

MnDOT encourages schools, communities to join Bike to School Day

Mower County

Veterans Appreciation Service for Mower County Veterans

Education

Fadness graduates from the U of M School of Dentistry

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

Mower County

In Your Community: Mower County Senior Center

Agriculture

MnDOT asks motorists, farm equipment operators to safely share the road during planting season

News

How will a warm winter affect spring fishing? What to know before the opener

News

‘A step back in time’: America’s Catholic Church sees an immense shift toward the old ways

News

Israel-Hamas war protests close on a handful of US campuses as arrests exceed 2,300

News

Bills for firearm safe storage, boosting straw buyer penalties pass in Minnesota House

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions: April 22-29

News

Minnesota sports betting bill runs afoul of partisan rancor over state senator’s burglary arrest

News

US employers scaled back hiring in April. How that could let the Fed cut interest rates

Mower County

McGruder gets over 30 years in prison for the shooting death of TyEsha Gills

Mower County

Page Turners event holds City Wide Read’s culminating reception

Mower County

Austin, Pacelli students honored for academic excellence at Hormel hosted luncheon

Mower County

Election judges being sought ahead of elections

News

Minnesota child care providers say state licensing needs an overhaul. Officials agree

Mower County

NextEra puts a hold on Timberwolf Solar Project