DWI traffic deaths in Minnesota account for at least one-third of all traffic deaths. This statistic is lower than previous years however; there is much work to be done to halt DWI traffic deaths according to the Department of Safety’s (DPS) latest report.
Details of the report include:
- 4,245 alcohol-related crashes occurred in 2008 resulting in 163 deaths and 2,896 injuries.
- 35,794 motorists were arrested for DWI, translating to 98 DWI arrests a day.
- In Minnesota, alcohol-related deaths decreased by 14 percent (190 in 2007, 163 in 2008).
- Nationally, alcohol-related deaths decreased by 19 percent (17,036 in 2007, 13,846 in 2008).
The DPS is aggressively looking to lower these statistics in 2010 by enhancing DWI patrols on the counties of: Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright. These 13 counties accounted for more than one-half of the state’s total alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries during 2006–2008.
Additionally, Governor Tim Pawlenty has proposed that all convicted DWI offenders be required to have ignition interlocks installed in their vehicle or face a longer revocation period. The proposal also would lower the alcohol concentration limit from 0.20 to 0.15 for enhanced administrative sanctions. A current statewide interlock pilot program is active with nearly 600 participants.
The report finds that one in eight Minnesota drivers — 523,891 — have a DWI on record, and one in 18 has two or more DWIs. DPS reports 41 percent of those who incur one violation will incur a second DWI.