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Alcohol-related deaths on rise in state

A detailed summary of impaired driving in Minnesota during 2005 shows alcohol-related traffic deaths cost the state more than $310 million, and 37,002 motorists were arrested for impaired driving.

A detailed summary of impaired driving in Minnesota during 2005 shows alcohol-related traffic deaths cost the state more than $310 million, and 37,002 motorists were arrested for impaired driving.

Persons ages 20-29 represented 44 percent of the arrests. The report, Minnesota Motor Vehicle Impaired Driving Facts 2005, is compiled annually by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety.

The report shows that of the 397 traffic crashes in Carlton County that year, 32 were alcohol-related, and four of those resulted in severe injuries. The cost of those alcohol-related injuries is estimated at $234,000 in Carlton County alone.

The report further shows that of the 401 DWI incidents in Carlton County during that year, there were 338 convictions in Sixth District Judicial Court for impaired driving that resulted from those incidents, for a conviction rate of 84.3 percent. Of the total number of impaired driving incidents in the county, 223 involved first-time violators; 85 involved second-time violators; 44 involved third-time violators; and 49 involved fourth-time violators.

Nationally, alcohol-related deaths were almost unchanged from 2004 to 2005. However, in Minnesota alcohol-related deaths increased by 11 percent from 177 in 2004 to 197 in 2005.

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For the five-year period 2001-2005, Minnesota averaged 216 alcohol-related traffic deaths and 34,033 impaired driving arrests annually.

In 2005, males accounted for 76 percent of all DWIs. Most violators were first-time offenders, yet almost 14,500 had two or more DWIs on record.

In all, 462,425 - or one in eight Minnesotans - have a DWI on their record.

To view Impaired Driving Facts online, visit www.dps.state.mn.us/ots .

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