Drunk driving deaths in Dakota County declined in 2011The number of drunk-driving deaths in Minnesota declined to 111 in 2011, down from the 10-year high of 185 drunk-driving deaths in 2002. There was a total of 368 traffic deaths in Minnesota in 2011.
By: Jane Lightbourn, The Farmington Independent
The number of drunk-driving deaths in Minnesota declined to 111 in 2011, down from the 10-year high of 185 drunk-driving deaths in 2002. There was a total of 368 traffic deaths in Minnesota in 2011.
Of the 14 fatal crashes in Dakota County last year, two people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. In 2010, there were 18 fatal crashes. Three of those reportedly involved alcohol.
On Friday, Aug. 31, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released its final 2011 drunk driving data. The 111-death number is a 40-percent decline from 2002, but much remains to be done, according to the DPS.
Drunk driving remains a top public safety threat, according to the DPS officials. Each year, drunk driving crashes accounted for about one-third of the state’s traffic deaths. 29,257 Minnesotans were arrested for DWI in 2011. That means that one in seven drivers has a DWI on their record, and 1,265 Minnesotans have 10 or more DWIs.
In Minnesota from 2007 to 2011, 651 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes, an average of 130 deaths annually. During this same time period, 166,962 motorists were arrested for DWI.
“The progress we have made to limit drunk driving is far eclipsed by the tragedies created by this behavior every year,” said DPS impaired driving program coordinator Jean Ryan.”Enforcement and education efforts are leading the change in behavior, but it takes everyone's committed responsibility to stop these preventable deaths.”
There are other initiatives and legislations which support the movement against impaired driving.
They include the ignition interlock, DWI Courts, plate impoundment and safe cab programs.