Yesterday, a Minnesota woman plead guilty to vehicular homicide in connection with a November crash that killed a young father. The woman admits to being “extremely drunk” at the time of the crash. The driver turned left in front of the man on his motorcycle. She had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .19%; it was 6 pm.
Every 2 minutes in the U.S. someone is injured in a drunk driving crash, resulting in nearly 10,000 senseless deaths (CDC). These are not “accidents”; they are crashes. The individual made the decision to get behind the wheel. Perhaps they just had 1 more drink than they should have, or maybe they are a habitual drunk driver who thinks they won’t get caught. In either instance, the end result is the same: thousands of lives lost, many of whom are innocent people sharing the road.
Impaired Driving Facts
- Drunk driving claims the lives of 27 people every day in the United States.
- On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
- A misdemeanor DWI costs the individual between $15,000-$20,000 for a single offense.
- Impaired driving is not limited to drinking and driving. Impaired driving is defined as operating a motor vehicle (car, boat, snowmobile, motorcycle, ATV) while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. It also applies to inattentive driving, not heeding road conditions, excessive speed, or following too closely.
This chilling video from the Minnesota Department of Safety shows the DWI booking process, from arrest to holding cell. The experience is humiliating, and rightfully so.
What Can You Do to Prevent DWI?
- Call your state representative about increasing Alcohol Ignition Interlock Use. These devices are connected to the vehicle’s ignition and require the driver blow a BAC of lower than .02. According to the CDC, ignition interlocks reduce repeat offenses by roughly 70%.
- Talk with your family about impaired driving. April is drunk driving awareness month, MADD and other organizations offer free webinars and ebooks to help ignite these conversations. 75% of teens report parents as being greatest influences in their decision to use or not use alcohol. Discuss consequences of impaired driving frequently.
- Set a good example. Do not get behind the wheel of a car if you have been drinking. Any cab ride is cheaper than a DWI arrest. Do not use your cell phone while driving, even at a stop light. Setting a good example helps form good habits in younger drivers, and it might save a life someday.
- MADD – Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) is the America’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving, drugged driving and underage drinking.
- MSD – Minnesotans for Safe Driving (MSD) is a local nonprofit that helps educate Minnesotans about the tragic consequences of distracted driving and drunk driving. Their stories are difficult to read, but very powerful. Consider sharing them with loved ones to remind them of the dangers of driving unsafely.
- Minnesota Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties, and Fines – Even first time offenders can spend up to 90 days in jail.