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The holiday season brings reminders about driving while impaired

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2022 | Driving |

A snowy, icy Minnesota winter is reason enough to drive sober.

In addition, the holiday season brings festive get-togethers, alcoholic beverages and reminders about the dangers of driving while impaired (DWI).

A little background

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 32 people die in alcohol-related crashes every day in the U.S. That equates to one every 45 minutes. In 2020, there were 11,654 drunk driving fatalities, representing an increase of 14% over 2019.

Negative effects

Alcohol passes through the walls of the stomach and small intestine directly into the bloodstream. The alcohol accumulates there until the liver metabolizes it. Alcohol reduces brain functions, such as thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. The more alcohol there is in the system of a driver, the more difficult it is to detect danger and react to an emergency situation in a timely fashion due to impaired information processing capabilities.

Minnesota DWI penalties

A driver stopped on suspicion of DWI will undergo a breath or blood test to determine the amount of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in his or her body. It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. In the state of Minnesota, a driver with a DWI conviction faces fines of up to $1,000 plus court costs. The court can also order jail time in lieu of part or all of the fine amount. If the driver refuses testing, the court can impose a license revocation of one year. If the driver wishes to have full driving privileges during this time, the court will require the installation of an ignition interlock device in any car the driver owns or wishes to operate.