Minnesota residents have seen the penalties for drinking and driving change over the years while public awareness about the dangers of drinking has driving has increased. Sadly, these shifts have not managed to prevent many people from continuing to make the dangerous choice to get behind the wheels of their cars after consuming alcohol. Even more tragic is the fact that numerous innocent people die in drunk driving accidents every year. Just how many of these deaths does Minnesota experience?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Minnesota experienced 115 fatalities in drunk driving crashes in 2015, more than in the prior four years. In 2011, the state recorded 109 such deaths. That number rose to 114 in 2012 but then dropped to 95 in 2013. It jumped again in 2014 to 108.
Hennepin County experienced more deaths in crashes involving alcohol than any of its seven adjacent counties. Over the five years spanning from 2011 to 2015, 52 people lost their lives in impaired driving wrecks in Hennepin County. Looking at neighboring counties, the area with the next highest number of drunk driving fatalities for that same time period was Anoka County. There, 21 people died over five years. In Wright County, another 17 deaths took place.
Both Ramsey and Dakota Counties recorded a total of 15 vehicular fatalities in alcohol-related accidents in this time period. Carver County lost eight lives and Scott County another seven in drunk driving collisions. These statistics make it clear that drinking and driving continues to be a serious problem in Minnesota. With the holiday season just around the corner, it is important for all area residents to be aware of this all-too real risk.