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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Doug Neville  651-201-7562
August 28, 2014
Impaired Related Traffic Deaths Decline in 2013
Most Arrests Are First-Time DWI Offenders
ST. PAUL – Impaired-related traffic fatalities in Minnesota dropped to 95 in 2013, a 9 percent decrease from 2012 when 104 people lost their lives. The Minnesota Impaired Driving Facts 2013 report released today reveals a continued downward trend in impaired-related traffic deaths after reaching a high of 222 in 1998.
Nearly 400 law enforcement agencies are participating in an enhanced enforcement campaign looking for drunk drivers from Aug. 16 through Labor Day, in hopes 2014 sees even fewer impaired-related traffic fatalities. Impaired-related refers to any driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
“We want this steady decrease in impaired-related fatalities to continue because too many families are dealing with the devastating loss of a loved one,” said Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director. “Most motorists make the smart decision to never mix drinking and driving.  Please join the majority and plan ahead for a sober ride this holiday weekend.  Your life and others sharing the road depend on it.”
Minnesota Impaired Driving Facts 2013 Highlights
The report details crashes and DWI incidences by factors such as age, county, conviction rate and recidivism. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety publishes the annual report for insight to help guide education and enforcement campaigns.
Deaths and Injuries
  • Traffic crashes claimed the lives of 387 people and 95 (25 percent) died in impaired-related crashes.
  • 2,300 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related crashes.
  • From 2011 – 2013, there were 310 impaired-related traffic fatalities compared to 370 from 2008 – 2010.
DWI Offenders
  • In recent years, about 60 percent of all violators had no prior DWI arrests on record compared to 40 percent that did have prior citations.
  • Out of the 25,719 motorists arrested for DWI in 2013, 15,264 (59 percent) were first time offenders.
  • After getting a second DWI, a pattern of repeat arrests can follow with about half of those motorists receiving a third DWI and half of third-time offenders getting arrested a fourth time.
  • The 20 – 34 year old age group represents 55 percent of impaired driving incidents.
  • Males committed 73 percent of the impaired incidents.
  • The number of drivers under 21 cited for having any alcohol in their blood has significantly dropped from 3,400 in 1999 to 687 in 2013.
Greater Minnesota Motorists at Risk
  • Sixty (63 percent) of the 95 impaired-related traffic fatalities in 2013 occurred outside the Twin Cities’ metro in Greater Minnesota.
  • Of all Minnesota residents, 596,170 (11 percent) have one or more impaired driving arrests on their record. The five counties with the highest percentages are north and west of the Twin Cities: Mahnomen (22.3 percent); Mille Lacs (17.1 percent); Cass (15.8 percent); Clearwater (15.4 percent); and Aitkin (15.3 percent).
DWI Consequences
A DWI offense can result in loss of a license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in costs and possible jail time. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time 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 driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Drunk Driving Prevention and Safety
  • Plan for a safe ride – designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
  • Offer to be a designated driver, or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
  • Buckle up – the best defense against a drunk driver.
  • Report drunk driving – call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
  • Alcohol-related: any evidence of alcohol detected in a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist.
  • Impaired-related: any driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
  • Drunk-driving-related: any driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
OTS designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety initiative.
Recent OTS Activity and Statistics
  • Officers cited 16,926 drivers for speeding during a July enforcement campaign.
  • The May 19-June 1 Click It or Ticket campaign reported 10,874 seat belt citations and 279 child restraint tickets from 329 law enforcement agencies.
  • Final reports on enhanced enforcement for distracted driving during April 11-20 reported 827 texting citations from 308 law enforcement agencies.
  • Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2013 is a summary of last year’s traffic crashes, derived from law enforcement reports and describes how, why and where crashes occurred and who was involved.
  • In a continuing effort to advance traffic safety in Minnesota, DPS awarded new federal grants totaling more than $8.5 million for regional partners to support overtime traffic safety enforcement and educational efforts through September 2014.
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 |