Drunken driving | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Drunken driving

Last year, Minnesotans faced dangers when they were on the road that had nothing to do with ice or snow or deer flying out of ditches.
In 2011, Minnesota had 136 alcohol-related traffic deaths for 37 percent of all traffic fatalities. Drunken drivers are overrepresented by males and young adults, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently reported. And those individuals account for a "disproportionate share of fatalities," the state says. In 2011, males represented 75 percent of impaired driving arrests. But the Minnesota Department of Public Safety notes women are gaining in this area. Since 2002, female DWI offenses have increased 5 percent to now represent a quarter of all DWI offenses.
With a half-million Minnesotans with a driver's license record with a DWI, the state notes one in seven drivers (those with a driver's license, or with one that's been revoked or canceled) has a DWI on record.
Most impaired driving offenders are first-timers (59 percent in 2011) and 41 percent had prior DWIs on their record.
When people are arrested there is an overwhelming conviction rate. Historically, about 85 percent of DWI arrests result in a conviction each year.
For more details, go to the weekend edition for the state's report on impaired driving and local county numbers.