Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - October 19, 2005

Safe & Sober campaign nets 2,000 impaired drivers

By Michael Jacobson

Nearly 300 Minnesota law enforcement agencies - including the Paynesville Police Department - teamed up to arrest 2,094 impaired drivers during the first statewide impaired driving enforcement campaign since the state's 0.08 blood-alcohol-concentration level became effective in August.

The Safe & Sober enforcement effort ran from Friday, Aug. 19, to Monday, Sept. 5. It was coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety and was part of a national impaired driving crackdown.

The average alcohol concentration level of impaired drivers arrested during the campaign was 0.148. In 2004, the average was 0.16.

On Aug. 1, 2005, the state's alcohol-concentration limit went to 0.08 from 0.10.

"We are making headway in our fight against impaired driving," said Kathy Swanson, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "Despite our progress, too many people fail to exercise their safe alternatives; we're still losing lives to impaired driving."

In 2004, 177 people were killed and 500 were seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes in Minnesota. This is the lowest number of impaired-driving deaths since 1984, when the state began tracking alcohol-related crashes.

The economic impact of last year's alcohol-related traffic deaths and serious injuries was nearly $226 million. More than 34,000 impaired drivers were arrested last year, including one third who were 24 years of age or younger.

From 2000 to 2004, 3,072 people were killed on Minnesota roads. Alcohol-related crashes accounted for 1,127 deaths, costing the state nearly $1.2 billion.

The Office of Traffic Safety attributes the 2004 decrease to collaborative enforcement techniques and increased public education about the enforcement efforts.

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community