Minnesota roads quiet on New Year's Eve
Jan 02, 2013 (Pioneer Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
New Year's Eve celebrations appeared to be controlled as the Minnesota State Patrol reported one fatal accident and an average number of DWI arrests.
If the accident that killed a 27-year-old man in Northeastern Minnesota on Monday, Dec. 31, is not influenced by alcohol, it will mark the state's fifth straight year without an alcohol-related death on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, according to the state's Department of Public Safety.
The state patrol reported only 25 DWI arrests, which is on par with a typical weekend night at the agency, said Lt. Eric Roeske, a state patrol spokesman.
"Since so many people go out and celebrate New Year's Eve, it's a low number relatively speaking," Roeske said. "It's a positive sign, but doesn't mean we can rest or ease off. It doesn't mean that things are solved by any means."
Overall, Minnesota has averaged 295 DWI arrests for the last five years, said Department of Public Safety data. Full numbers aren't immediately available for Monday and Tuesday, but Roeske said a lack of a spike in arrests, at least at the state patrol, was positive news.
"More (people) may have chosen to take a sober driver or stay where they were at," Roeske said.
The last alcohol-related fatality was in 2008 and from 2002 to 2007, seven deaths were related to a drunk driver, according to Department of Public Safety data.
About 100 people die each year in alcohol-related vehicle accidents, Roeske said. In 2012, there were at least
369 total traffic deaths, up from 343 in 2011, said Department of Public Safety data.
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