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Unlucky 13: Minnesota’s most dangerous drunk driving counties

April 29, 2019

A man in a booking cell holding his head in his hands


If superstition is to be believed, 13 is a very unlucky number – right up there with black cats and broken mirrors on the list of things to avoid. And it certainly is unlucky for those living in the 13 most dangerous counties for drunk driving in the state. More people have died in drunk driving-related crashes and suffered alcohol-related serious injuries in those counties than in other Minnesota counties.

In fact, from 2012 to 2016, 183 people died in drunk driving-related crashes in those 13 counties, as opposed to 432 statewide. Similarly, 768 people were seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes in the unlucky 13, compared to 1,382 statewide.

Most Dangerous DWI Counties MapWhere are these counties? Many of them comprise the metro area, as one might expect—but some of them are more far-flung. No matter where they are, though, law enforcement officers in those counties are providing extra patrols to get drunk drivers off the roads through September of this year. The top 13 most dangerous drunk driving counties based on 2012 – 2016 figures are:

  1. Hennepin
  2. Ramsey
  3. Anoka
  4. Dakota
  5. St. Louis
  6. Washington
  7. Stearns
  8. Wright
  9. Otter Tail
  10. Olmsted
  11. Cass
  12. Scott
  13. Crow Wing

Whether you live in one of these 13 counties or not, it’s always important to plan a sober ride if you plan to go out. After all, a first-time DWI can cost you an average of $10,000, or you could cause a crash that results in serious injury or death for you or someone else.

So designate a driver, call a cab or ride share service, use public transportation, or stay at the location of the party. And make sure you speak up: offer to be a designated driver, and if you see someone who’s impaired about to get behind the wheel, find them a safe ride home. Similarly, if you witness impaired driving behavior out on the road, call 911 and report it (be prepared to give the location, license plate number, and the behavior you observed). And don’t forget to buckle up: It’s the best defense against a drunk driver.

Sometimes “unlucky” things like spilling salt or walking underneath a ladder are inevitable—but you can definitely avoid the unlucky situation of drunk driving.