Drunk Driving Statistics In Minnesota

Drunk Driving Statistics In Minnesota

Drunk driving is a persistent problem for Minnesotans. According to the Office of Traffic Safety Impaired Driving Facts Report for 2017, one out of every 7 licensed drivers in Minnesota has one or more DWIs. The good news is the majority of those (58%) have only a single DWI on their record.

Below are some highlights from the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) 2017 report of drunk driving statistics in Minnesota:

  • In 2017, 72 people died in a crash involving a drunk driver. That’s 20% of all traffic fatalities.
  • 2,389 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related crashes.
  • Law enforcement officers arrested 24,862 motorists for DWI, which averages out to 68 DWIs per day.
  • Roughly half of all DWI arrests in 2017 occurred in the Twin Cities metro area.
  • 14% of suspected impaired drivers refused to take a chemical test.
  • For 40% of those arrested in 2017, it was a second offense.
  • Male drivers accounted for 72% of DWI arrests in 2017.
  • Drivers from 20-34 years of age accounted for 52% of the impaired driving incidents in 2017.
  • 49% of DWI arrests are on the weekend.
  • The average BAC for DWI offenders was 0.15g/dL. For drivers involved in a fatal crash, the average BAC among those who had been drinking was 0.19g/dL.

While some of those drunk driving statistics may be alarming, there is good news. The number of drunk driving fatalities is down substantially over previous years. And Minnesota compares quite well to the rest of the nation in terms of drunk driving. Minnesota has one of the lowest drunk driving fatality rates in the United States.  

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, Minnesota has the 3rd lowest rate of per capita drunk driving fatalities.

Minnesota’s Drunk Driving Laws and Ignition Interlock Program

Minnesota, along with states across the country, is toughening their drunk driving laws, and adding an ignition interlock program to the mix to help prevent drunk driving. Minnesota started a pilot program in Anoka County for ignition interlocks in 2002. The small pilot program was a success, and in 2007, state lawmakers authorized the Department of Public Safety (DPS to conduct a two-year Ignition Interlock device pilot program in one rural and one metropolitan county.  DPS chose Hennepin and Beltrami counties

The two-county pilot program targeted offenders with two or more DWIs, and supported their ability to obtain a limited license to drive two and from work and treatment. That program was also a success, and in 2009-2011, the pilot program went statewide, with some modifications to make the program simpler and more effective.

The ignition interlock program became part of state law in 2011. Highlights of the legislation include:

  1. First time DWI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16% and above and all repeat offenders are required to have interlock devices installed on vehicles they drive.
  2. First time DWI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.16% and above and all second-time offenders who choose not to use interlocks lose driving privileges for periods ranging from one year to two years, depending on the level of their offense.
  3. Offenders with three or more DWIs within 10 years are required to use interlocks to demonstrate sobriety for three to six years.
  4. Ignition interlock users regain full or limited driving privileges immediately after the offense.

And according to the OTS report, the state’s Ignition Interlock program is growing.  In the last three years, the number of interlock devices installed in Minnesotan’s vehicles has nearly doubled, from 5,276 in 2013 to 9,780 in 2015. During that time period, 12,074 people successfully graduated from the interlock program.

Independent Evaluation of Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock Program

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) performed an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of Minnesota’s ignition interlock program. Overall, TIRF found Minnesota’s program to be effective in reducing recidivism among DWI offenders. Highlights of the evaluation include:

  • Drivers who participated in the program had fewer arrests for DWI and moving violations while in the program compared to the comparison group.
  • Drivers who participated in the program were less than half as likely to commit a new DWI offense compared to a matched group of non-participants.
  • The evaluation also showed that participating in Minnesota’s interlock program reduced the long-term risk of recidivism by 39% overall.
  • First time offenders who completed the program have a further 12% reduction in the risk of recidivating.

Based on the data analyzed in the evaluation, Minnesota’s ignition program has prevented at least 12,302 instances of drunk drivers from starting their vehicles. (During the evaluation period).


TIRF had several program recommendations, including:

  1. Mandate that ALL offenders participate in the program, including all first time offenders. And by mandate, make it so it is not a choice to participate in the program.
  2. Remove barriers to participating in the ignition interlock program. That includes the current requirement to pay back child support before enrolling, or having an expired vehicle registration being a barrier to enrollment.
  3. Increase the role of alcohol treatment. Research shows that ignition interlock programs that combine the use of the device with treatment are more successful in preventing recidivism that programs without a treatment component. Currently, Minnesota only requires alcohol treatment for some repeat offenders.
  4. Increase public education on the interlock program. Make the program enticing and explain the benefits. Educate people on eligibility, and combine it with drunk driving prevention education, especially at the college level.

Ignition Interlock Device Installation in Minnesota

If you’ve been convicted of DWI, you’re likely looking for ignition interlock device installation locations in Minnesota. ALCOLOCK has multiple locations throughout the state for your convenience. From Hoyt Lakes to Alexandria and Moorhead, with a number of locations in between, you’re sure to find a location that’s convenient to you.

You can call one of our Minnesota ignition interlock device installation locations directly, or call ALCOLOCK at 866-700-9300 to schedule your installation appointment. You can also use our contact form. We look forward to working with you to get you back on the road.

Skip to toolbar