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Minnesota drunken-driving deaths down 40% since 2002

  • Article by: STAFF REPORT
  • August 31, 2012 - 9:38 PM

Drunken-driving deaths in Minnesota last year were down 40 percent from a decade ago, but there's still a lot of work to do to save needlessly lost lives, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety said Friday.

That calculation was part of the agency's release of its final 2011 drunken-driving data, in which it said 111 people died last year as the result of drunken driving, compared to 185 in 2002.

The agency also cited these numbers: 29,257 Minnesotans were arrested for DWI in 2011, one in seven state drivers has a DWI on record, and 1,265 Minnesotans have 10 or more DWIs.

From 2007 to 2011, 651 people were killed in drunken-driving crashes in Minnesota, 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," Jean Ryan, impaired-driving programs coordinator at Public Safety, said in a news release.

Other points in the 2011 report:

• 368 people died in traffic crashes in Minnesota last year, and 111 of them -- 30 percent -- were in crashes involving drunk drivers.

• Eighty-six of the 111 drunken-driving deaths (77 percent) occurred outside the Twin Cities metro area. The metro area accounted for 236 fatal crashes, of which 33 percent involved a drunk driver.

• 29,257 motorists were arrested for DWI in 2011, translating to 81 DWI arrests a day. The Twin Cities area and the 80-county outstate area each accounted for about one-half of all 2011 DWI arrests.

• One in 17 current Minnesota drivers has two or more DWIs.

• Males accounted for 73 percent of all DWIs.

• Motorists ages 20 to 29 represented 42 percent of DWI arrests. One in 15 of those arrested were drivers under age 21.

• Fifty percent of DWI arrests were made on Saturdays and Sundays.

• The top five counties for DWI conviction rates were Red Lake, Lyon, Wilkin, Hubbard and Polk. Counties with the lowest conviction rates were Lake of the Woods, Lincoln, Washington, Nicollet and Hennepin.

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