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Mike Bryant
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The Thirteen Most Deadly Minnesota Counties

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This past week, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released it’s list of the most deadly counties due to drunk driving. They are: Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington

Wright. Olmsted, Otter Tail and Scott counties are new additions to the list, replacing the counties of Blue Earth, Crow Wing and Itasca.

The 13 counties accounted for more than half of Minnesota’s alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries from 2006-2008. The counties are determined based on the total number of alcohol-related deaths and serious injuries over a three-year period.

From 2006-2008, Stearns County had 13 alcohol-related deaths and 31 serious injuries. Sherburne County had 12 deaths and 21 serious injuries. Wright County had 27 deaths and 23 injuries.

“Sustained, increased DWI patrols are a necessary strategy in the fight against the illegal and deadly behavior of impaired driving,” says Jean Ryan, alcohol programs coordinator at DPS Office of Traffic Safety. “Minnesota can put the biggest dent in our alcohol-related deaths and injuries by directing resources to these areas.”

The press release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety went on to say:

DPS administers enhanced enforcement by combining resources of state, county and city law enforcement agencies. Ryan says Minnesota DWI enforcement is a model for other states due to successful partnerships among agencies and by conducting “high-visibility” enforcement efforts that employ saturated patrols along a select corridor, electronic signage and officer gear. The intent of high-visibility enforcement is to generate motorist and community awareness that enforcement is out in force, and as a result, encourage motorists make safe plans to avoid driving impaired.

Ryan adds that a statewide ignition interlock program aimed to combat the issue of unlicensed DWI offenders continuing to drive — and drive impaired — following arrest is another component in the fight against impaired driving. The program allows certain DWI offenders to regain driving privileges by having an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. The program expires June 30, 2011. Information on this program is at www.MinnesotaIgnitionInterlock.org.

Each year in Minnesota, alcohol-related crashes account for up to 200 deaths and 400 serious injuries costing the state around $225 million