Minnesota public safety officials say the state's most populous county is also its most dangerous when it comes to drunk driving incidents.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) released its annual list of the top 25 "Most Dangerous Drunk Driving Counties," and Hennepin County – home of Minneapolis – is no. 1, according to an email news release. (This doesn't appear to take into account a county's population.)
Here are the rest:
Officials determined there were 264 deaths related to alcohol-impaired driving across the state during the three-year period they measured to compile the list (2012-2014). The counties in the top 25 accounted for 160 of those fatalities, or 61 percent.
There are a total of 87 counties in the state.
The numbers may be even more alarming where alcohol-related injuries are concerned. The 25 counties in question are responsible for 560 of the 753 "serious" injuries, or 71 percent, the release says.
The "top 25" has six new members this year: Aitkin, Le Sueur, Freeborn, Rice, Winona, and Kandiyohi counties. Benton, Mille Lacs, Clay, Morrison, Carlton, and Pine were taken off the list.
Public safety officials say there is a "downward trend" of drunken driving incidents, indicating that "people are getting the message to plan a sober ride through education and enforcement."
Extra Halloween enforcement
Those same 25 counties, according to the release, will be the subject of increased DWI enforcement over the upcoming Halloween weekend.
While many Minnesotans are undoubtedly planning for a fun holiday, DPS says Minnesota "can expect an average of 400 DWIs, 740 crashes, five fatalities (two drunk-driving related)" and hundreds of injuries over this Halloween.
Not helping is the fact that since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, the likelihood of accidents and fatalities increases.
It's also one of the worst holidays, the release says, when it comes to speed-related and "unbelted" deaths.