DWI deaths in Minnesota continue to decline, the state’s Department of Public Safety announced in late September. Additionally, last year, 25,258 people were taken into custody for driving drunk, 754 fewer than arrested the previous.
More impressive, however, is how those statistics have improved since 2006 when over 42 thousand drivers were arrested. When compared to this year, that represents a 40% decline.
The department, meanwhile, noted that that out of 361 people who died in traffic incidents last year, 88 of those fatalities were contributed directly to a driver who was operating their vehicle under the influence.
In a statement made available on the DPS website, Donna Berger, Minnesota DPS Office of Traffic Safety director, called the trends “encouraging,” but also took solace with grieving families, noting that it was just a “small comfort when more than 25,000 drunk drivers are still on the road, doing the exact same thing that killed their loved one.”
Over the past two decades, Minnesota has enacted a number of measures aimed discouraging people from driving drunk, including a law that makes it illegal for anyone under 21 to drive with any alcohol in their system, negating the BAC limit of 0.08 that’s standard for other drivers. And most recently, the state lowered the threshold for gross misdemeanor DUI convictions.
It’s estimated that 1 in 7 drivers in the state of Minnesota currently have DWI convictions on their records.