Impaired Driving in Minnesota: Know the Laws

A decline in alcohol-related deaths in Minnesota shows us that recent attempts to both enforce DWI laws and inform the community about the consequences of driving while drunk has made some progress. However, while DWI numbers are on the decline, driving while impaired still remains a serious problem in Minnesota.  In 2017, 72 deaths that occurred in the state of Minnesota were attributed to drunk driving. One glance at some of the DWI statistics over the past few years tells us that drunk driving continues to remain a serious issue in Minnesota. For example, about 25,000 drivers were arrested for DWI in 2017, and at least one of seven licensed drivers in Minnesota has a DWI on record.

While it’s nice to see some progress taking place regarding the DWI problem in Minnesota, there is still plenty of work left to do. So, if you are interested in helping to become part of the DWI solution in Minnesota and you are wondering what you can do to help decrease DWI problems, what can you do? We’ll cover a few suggestions about how you can contribute to the DWI solution.

Sober Riding and Driving

While it might sound like the voice of one person won’t make much of a difference as far as a DWI and a potentially drunk friend of family member is concerned, it really can make all the difference. There are a few actions you can take in your daily life that can make a difference for you and others:

  • Make sure your ride is sober. The best way to do this is to select a designated driver in your group and ensure that driver stays sober. On the other hand, if your entire party plans on drinking, then plan to get a taxi, use public transportation, or stay overnight at the place of the party, if possible.
  • Don’t be shy about being the designated driver. Speak up and be the responsible one if everybody else wants to drink. After all, if you are sober, you should be able to trust in yourself and drive everybody home safely. Also, always make sure that everybody buckles up when driving or riding as a passenger in the car.
  • If a drunk friend or family member calls you and needs a ride, be ready to go pick that person up to get him or her home safely. Chances are the favor will be returned, and you can make sure your loved one gets home safely.
  • Don’t shy away from reporting drunk drivers. If you are out on the roads driving and you notice a driver who is obviously intoxicated, then call 911 when you witness impaired driving in action. Make sure you know your location, know the impaired driver’s license plate number, and also make sure you can describe the dangerous behavior.

Drunk Driving Consequences

Drunk driving can be life-threatening for both the drunk driver and the people within the drunk driver’s vicinity, which means there should be plenty of incentive for avoiding that behavior. However, unfortunately drunk driving is still a serious problem, and plenty of stiff consequences come to those who are caught. If a person is caught drunk driving, he or she can lose his or her license for up to a year, pay thousands of dollars in fines, and do time in jail. Repeat DWI offenders or those arrested for the first time at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level are forced to use ignition interlock for one year to regain legal driving privileges, or they may lose driving privileges for a year.

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