Reporting Steve Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The nation’s biggest crackdown on drunken driving began Friday and Minnesota is taking part. To illustrate the problem, officials offered some sobering statistics.
Although the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths has been going down, drunken driving is still involved in a third of all fatalities on Minnesota roads each year. And authorities have a special mission for end of summer traffic.
“Stem the tide of the recent six weeks in which we’ve had a spike in fatal crashes,” said Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol.
Roeske says special enforcement efforts do work: “Campaigns like this one have helped reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths to a record low.”
There were 131 alcohol-related traffic deaths in Minnesota in 2010, the fewest on record and down 21 percent from five years ago.
Still, in the last five years, 791 people have died in accidents involving drinking.
More than 30,000 motorists are arrested for drunken driving each year in Minnesota and one in seven motorists has a DWI on record.
Four-hundred law enforcement agencies in Minnesota — and 10,000 agencies nationwide — are taking part in the DWI enforcement effort from now through Labor Day.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports