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Is Minn. DWI enforcement focused on the wrong roads?

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Is Minn. DWI enforcement focused on the wrong roads?

Post by North Star 1 on March 24th 2010, 9:12 am

Minnesota focuses its efforts to curb drunk driving on the counties with the highest number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths, but a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation found drivers and their passengers are more likely to be hurt or killed by a drunk driver elsewhere.

The state uses total number of injury and deadly crashes over a three year period to determine the most dangerous counties for DWI. For 2010, the list includes Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmstead, Otter Tail, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright.

However, those counties also have the most people and the most cars.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS gathered data from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which keeps track of how many vehicles use each stretch of road, ???to compare the number of DWI crashes to the number of miles traveled.???

The University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies confirmed that is a good way to determine an individual driver's risk.

While Hennepin County tops the state's list, it ranked 72 out of 87 on the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS list. That means 71 counties are more dangerous for DWI, car per car, mile per mile.

The 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS analysis showed drivers were nine times more likely to be seriously injured or killed by a drunk driver in Mahnomen County than in Hennepin County. The risk is also nine times greater in Red Lake.

The risk of injury or death was three times higher in Aitken, Cass, Rice, and Mille Lacs than in Hennepin.

State Rep. Gail Kulick Jackson lives in Mille Lacs.

She said, "It seems to me that this cries out for more resources for up here and for more enforcement."

The Department of Public Safety creates the state's 13 deadliest counties list.

Jean Ryan, alcohol programs coordinator at DPS Office of Traffic Safety, said the department has looked at numbers of drunk driving crashes compared to miles traveled. But, she said officials believe they will save more lives by focusing on counties with the most crashes, not the counties where individuals are most at risk.

Ryan said, "The reason we go by the highest number is because we have the most possibility of reducing fatalities and severe injuries because that is where the highest number exists."

This year, Minnesota received $3.7 million from the federal government to crackdown on drunk drivers--more than ever before. About 60 percent of the money will go to the 13 deadliest counties as defined by DPS. The rest must be shared by Minnesota's 73 other counties.
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Re: Is Minn. DWI enforcement focused on the wrong roads?

Post by bluegill on March 25th 2010, 7:42 am

It sounds like they need to start driving more roads to catch the drunk drivers. Hopefully they will start to do this and the death rate will go down big time.
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Re: Is Minn. DWI enforcement focused on the wrong roads?

Post by North Star 1 on March 25th 2010, 8:41 am

Well i live 10 miles from the nearest town were im at, there are very few cars that drive past my house that the driver don't have a beer between the legs while driving. I hope bthey get busy soon as i have grand children that play on the farm and ride there bikes on the road here.
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Re: Is Minn. DWI enforcement focused on the wrong roads?

Post by bluegill on March 26th 2010, 8:33 am

I completely agree with you, Mike. Have you made a call to your local Sheriff or State Trooper's post? Maybe getting their plate number and giving it to them when you call will get them to patrol your roads more often..
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Re: Is Minn. DWI enforcement focused on the wrong roads?

Post by North Star 1 on March 26th 2010, 8:37 am

Well they patrol the area, they just patrol at the wrong time as i mean they need to be here on the weekends and at night.
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