Drunken Driving Cases Drop To 20-Year Low

Updated: 09/04/2014 5:43 PM
Created: 09/04/2014 8:06 AM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- You've seen the television announcements and heard of law enforcement saturations. Now, there's the strongest evidence yet that those anti drinking-and-driving efforts are working.

“I think education has a lot to do with it," said Austin Police Captain Dave McKichan.

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says the number of drunk driving arrests in the state fell to a 20 year low last year; and public service announcements and other educational efforts are getting part of the credit.

"I think society has been good about taking keys away from those who are drinking," McKichan said.

It's part of what authorities are calling 'changing attitudes about driving while impaired.'

"The drinkers themselves making choices to have a designated driver," McKichan said.

Law enforcement agencies are also dedicating more resources to DWI saturations, which is calling attention to the dangers of drinking and driving.

But despite the number reaching a 20 year low, there were still 25,719 impaired-driving arrests in Minnesota last year.

"We're still seeing a large percentage of traffic deaths, fatalities, as a result of those who are impaired," McKichan told ABC6.

And with the numbers going the right way, law enforcement officials say they’ll keep up their efforts to make Minnesota roads safer, one motorist at a time.

"I think whenever we take a drunk driver off the road we are reducing the threat of a serious accident, possibly a fatality," McKichan said.

Photo: MGN