Fewer drunk drivers on Minn. roadsby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Fewer drunk drivers are on Minnesota roads, reflecting a national trend reported by the Centers for Disease Control.
A CDC survey of people who consume alcohol shows fewer reporting they drink and drive. The number of Minnesota drunk drivers killed in crashes has also fallen, said Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Nathan Bowie.
"In 2010, we had 131 alcohol-related deaths, which was the lowest on record," Bowie said. "We started tracking these numbers back in 1984 when we had 305 alcohol-related deaths." Minnesota experienced 166 alcohol-related road deaths, Bowie said.
"Each year we are seeing that those drinking and driving deaths are accounting for one-third of the state's total deaths, so it's still a serious issue," Bowie said. "We still have 30,000 people getting busted for DWI DUI each year." Bowie says stronger DWI punishment is helping bring down state road fatalities. Repeat drunk drivers or drivers with an alcohol level twice the legal rate of 0.08 must use an ignition interlock for at least a year or face suspension of driving privileges for a year.