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Minnesota’s drunk driving fatality rate on the rise

Although having a few drinks with family and friends is not against the law in Minnesota, climbing behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated is illegal. Unfortunately, people who make the decision to do so claim the lives of innocent motorists on the road. In 2012, 114 people were killed in drunk driving car accidents in Minnesota, making up 29 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in the state, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Despite Minnesota’s current DUI laws and penalties, the DUI death rate from auto accidents increased 4.6 percent from 2011 to 2012.

One accident caused by a drunk driver in Rochester took the life of a 9-year-old boy. According to CBS Local News, the man who decided to drink and drive had not had a valid driver’s license since 1979 and had a blood alcohol content level that exceeded Minnesota’s legal limit of 0.08 percent by nearly two times. Three vehicles were involved in the tragic collision. One of the vehicles was hit head-on by the drunk driver, which caused the young boy’s death. The man faces charges of criminal vehicle operation and criminal vehicular homicide.

Stricter legislation

Currently, people who are found driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.16 percent or above or who have been convicted of multiple DUIs may be required to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicles, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. These miniature breath test devices help to keep drunk drivers from reoffending by disabling their vehicles while they are intoxicated. National organizations, including MADD, argue that Minnesota could see a decline in their drunk driving fatality rate if they enacted a law requiring all convicted DUI offenders to use the devices. Other states that have implemented similar legislation have seen a remarkable decline in the number of people killed by drunk drivers.

Minnesota is one of twelve states that does not allow sobriety checkpoints, or organized locations where law enforcement officers can check motorists for key signs of impairment, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. MADD estimates that the number of alcohol-related crashes in Minnesota would decrease by nearly 20 percent if the state allowed these checkpoints.

Partner with an attorney

Drunk driving car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and paralysis, which can change the course of one’s life. Victims of these accidents may be left with unsurmountable medical bills, the inability to work and a decreased quality of life because of a negligent driver. An attorney can help people claim compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering.