Attitudes toward drunk driving are changing for the better among Minnesotans, as fewer DWIs and drunk driving related deaths are occurring across the state.
Currently, overall numbers show a positive change, but the percentage of traffic deaths and injuries where alcohol plays a role is still high.
Drink driving-related fatalities last year increased compared to 2014, but they have decreased by 8 percent in the last five years. The number of lives lost has remained below 100 since 2012.
Drunk Driving Fatalities:
Drivers are making smarter choices behind the wheel, with DWI arrests declining by 40 percent in the last 10 years. Last year there were 25,027 arrests compared with 42,007 in 2006.
Many DWI arrests are first-time offenders with those arrests making up well over half of impaired driving violations in 2015. Repeat arrests for DWIs are becoming less common.
Repeat, as well as first time DWI offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a drivers license. The number of interlock systems has nearly doubled in the last three years, from 5,276 in 2013 to 9,780 in 2015.
Extra DWI Enforcement will be on Minnesota roads, for the Labor Day holiday weekend.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reminds drivers:
- Plan for a sober ride - designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration.
- Speak Up - Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere
- Buckle Up - the best defense against drunk driving
- Report drunk driving - call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.