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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Official Numbers For 2009 : Highway Deaths From Drinking Are Again Too High

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As I wrote about yesterday, Minnesota highway deaths were historically low in 2009. This is great news. But, drunk driving still plays way too much of a role in the deaths that did take place. Last year, 6% of minor injuries, 12% of moderate injuries, 22% of severe injuries, and 34% of deaths were alcohol-related. In all, 141 people died and 2,592 people were injured in alcohol-related crashes.

The good news is that the overall numbers are dropping. But, despite all of the efforts to prevent drinking and driving, the percentage of people dieing isn’t changing. It also looks like the biggest drop is in the number of drivers who are killing themselves. With the law change to .09 it may be possible that the type of collisions be considered is having a big affect on the lower numbers.

The time of day also uncovered some interesting statistics. As is expected the highest number of drunk driving crashes took place at between Midnight and 2 am. But the next highest was 10 am. It is a reminder that people who drink all night are still drunk when they drive the next morning.

The charts confirm that early Sunday morning really isn’t a safe time to drive. Hopefully, increased law enforcement efforts at this time of the day will help continue to drive these yearly numbers down.

The numbers suggest problems that law enforcement and maybe the legislature will have to further address. It may require another look at the joint and several laws. When the recent law was revised, bars were granted reduced liability when they serve a drunk and the drunk causes a tragedy. It’s time that the law change be revisited.