Skip to main content

88 people were killed in drunken driving crashes last year, report says


New figures show that 88 people died in drunken driving-related incidents on Minnesota's roads last year.

The Department of Public Safety published 2014 figures that show 91 people were killed in "impaired-related" traffic accidents – that's any incident where a driver, pedestrian or bicyclist has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

All but three of the 91 involved drunken-driving crashes. (So for example, the three others may have been incidents in which a biker or pedestrian had a high blood alcohol level, but died after being involved in an accident with a sober driver.)

According to a news release, that number represents a 25 percent decrease from 2010, when there were 121 impaired-related fatalities. It's continued to trend downward during that time period.

There were 111 deaths in 2014 where any amount of alcohol detected (so including below that 0.08 mark). All told, 361 people died in traffic crashes in 2014.

In addition to impaired-related deaths being down, DWI arrests also dropped to 25,528 in 2014 – that's about 750 fewer arrests than the year before.

Officials say it continues a "steady drop" in DWIs since 2006, when more than 42,000 drivers were arrested. This means that over the course of nine years, alcohol-related arrests decreased by 40 percent.

Donna Berger, Office of Traffic Safety director, called the decreases "encouraging," but noted that "for a family who’s suffering a horrible loss because of a drunk driver, it’s small comfort when more than 25,000 drunk drivers are still on the road, doing the exact same thing that killed their loved one.”

The number are detailed in the department's annual Minnesota Motor Vehicle Impaired Driving Facts report (click here to read it).

Why the lower numbers?

In addition to ramped-up DWI enforcement campaigns (such as the three-week effort that netted more than 1,500 arrests this summer), DPS says tougher laws on "high alcohol content" offenses – where the driver has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.20 or above – have put a dent in the number of arrests over the years.

Still, there are some problem areas. The five counties with the highest percentage of people with a DWI on record are: Mahnomen (23.1 percent), Mille Lacs (17.2 percent), Cass (16.1 percent), Clearwater (15.9 percent), and Aitkin (15.7 percent).

The Department of Public Safety says 11.1 percent of Minnesota's population has a DWI on record – that's one out of every seven drivers.

Next Up

Chris Finch

Hawks bury Timberwolves in 3-point barrage

Without D'Angelo Russell, the Wolves couldn't keep up with the Hawks.

P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

Kirk Ciarocca returning to Gophers as offensive coordinator

The architect of the 2019 offense will look to revive the Gophers.

Klobuchar - MTP - NBC screengrab

Klobuchar says Congress should pass law to protect abortion rights

Her comments came as the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken — or gut — Roe v. Wade

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Police ask for public's help finding Mpls. woman missing a week

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.


1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.


Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.