Weather Forecast


Report provides info on DWI arrests, fatalities, conviction rates by county

A detailed summary of impaired driving in Minnesota reports 4,688 alcohol-related crashes in 2006 resulted in 166 deaths, 3,500 injuries and an estimated economic impact of $277 million.

A record-high number of motorists -- 41,951 -- were arrested for impaired driving in 2006, translating to 115 DWI arrests a day. The report, Minnesota Motor Vehicle Impaired Driving Facts 2006, is compiled annually by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

Nationally, alcohol-related deaths were almost unchanged from 2005 to 2006: 17,590 in 2005 and 17,602 in 2006. Minnesota alcohol-related deaths decreased by nearly 16 percent from 197 in 2005 to 166 in 2006. While the alcohol-related death count is the lowest on record, impaired driving still accounted for one in three traffic deaths.

For the five-year period 2002-2006, Minnesota averaged 207 alcohol-related traffic deaths and 35,717 impaired driving arrests annually. In 2006, males accounted for 76 percent of all DWIs and motorists ages 20-29 represented nearly half of the arrests.

One in 10 of the DWI arrests were motorists under age 21. Over 60 percent of violators were first-time offenders, yet almost 16,000 (38 percent) had two or more DWIs on record. The average alcohol concentration among first-time offenders was 0.14.

In all, one in eight licensed Minnesota drivers -- more than one-half million -- has a DWI on record. OTS reports that about 41 percent of those who incur one violation will incur a second DWI; one in 19 Minnesotans with a driving record have two or more DWIs.

The report shows that 82 percent of impaired driving incidents on record included a criminal conviction for driving while impaired by alcohol.

Nearly half of the DWI arrests were made on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Twin Cities' metro area and the 80-county greater Minnesota each accounted for about one-half of all 2006 DWI arrests.

Yet two-thirds of alcohol-related traffic deaths occurred outside the Twin Cities' metro -- Greater Minnesota accounted for 353 total traffic deaths, of which 117 (33 percent) were impaired driving-related.