Police arrest drunk drivers in Minnesota every single day, but one arrest last week of a Minnesota man with at least 13 driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions has shown just how big of a struggle the state is having with repeat offenders.
Repeat offenders in the state number in the thousands, and you’d be shocked at how people many people have 10 or more DWI convictions on their records and they are, incredibly, still driving.
Did you know if you drive in Minnesota, you share the road with more than 1500 licensed drivers who have at least 6 DWIs on their records? There are even a few drivers who have 20 DWIs. That’s because anyone convicted of DWI in Minnesota can keep on driving once they meet the conditions of their sentences. An example recently cited in an article about Minnesota drunk drivers stated that even if an offender has four DWIs, he or she can have their license reinstated if they go through a treatment program and install an ignition interlock for a period of time.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the state should join in with other states to require ignition interlock devices for all offenders. Ignition interlocks have been proven to reduce recidivism by as much as 67%, and the device has reduced alcohol-related fatalities in Arizona by 45%, New Mexico by 40%, and Louisiana by 36%. As of right now, Minnesota only requires an ignition interlock device for DWI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16 or higher and anyone with a repeat DWI on record.
Is an all offender ignition interlock law the solution for Minnesota? It’s worked for other states, and with such a huge repeat offender problem, it’s definitely a solution the state should explore.