The number of DUI arrests across the state of Minnesota fell to its lowest level since 20 years, and authorities say improved enforcement and shifting public perception of drinking and driving are the biggest reasons for the decline.
Minnesota police arrested 25,719 individuals for driving under the influence in 2013, and while that number still represents about 70 DUI arrests a day, that’s a huge improvement from just a few years ago when there were 41,951 such arrests in 2006. 19,036 Minnesotans received a criminal conviction, which also represents a 20-year low. Despite the downward trend, Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske said drunk driving is still a huge issue.
“It’s obviously a problem,” said Roeske. “Some don’t care about the consequences. Some struggle with chemical dependency and that contributes to the poor choice of getting behind the wheel when impaired.”
Crash data seems to confirm Roeske’s sentiments. 40 percent of Minnesotans involved in a fatal crash this year had previously been convicted of DUI, and 2,300 others were injured in alcohol-related crashes. See more statistics from the report below:
- Minnesota experienced a two percent decline in drunken driving deaths in 2013.
- One in seven Minnesotans has a drunken driving conviction.
- Not surprisingly, drivers between the ages of 20-34 accounted for the majority of DUI arrests. That age group represented 55 percent of the total drunk driving arrests.
- 4,034, or about one in six motorists arrested for DUI last year, had a BAC over 0.20.
- 22 percent of residents in Mahnomen County have a DUI conviction, the highest rate in the state, while Stevens County boasts the lowest rate at 7.7 percent.
Why the Decline?
As we alluded to in the beginning of the post, improved enforcement and shifting public perception are two main reasons why DUI arrests have fallen over the past two decades, but Nancy Johnson, legislative liaison for Minnesotans for Safe Driving, said there are more factors at play.
“There’s been so much press and lots of enforcement just for impaired driving. I mean people really got the message. Less people are driving drunk,” said Johnson. “The cars are safer. [Emergency medical services] are faster. So some people who might have died in a crash 10 years ago might not now because they’ll be able to get to the hospital sooner.”
Legislators also credited the harsher penalties to repeat or serious offenders as a sign that some people are learning from their mistakes.
Here’s hoping 2014 is another record breaking year, but if something happens and you need to speak to an attorney, don’t hesitate to call Appelman Law Firm. We’re here to help.
Related source: Star Tribune