Will North Dakota’s Tougher Drunk Driving Laws Work?

Kayla-Pulvermacher-Jan-16-2013

Earlier this year the legislature passed laws making North Dakota’s DUI laws tougher. Today those laws take effect.

Here’s what’s happening:

  • The minimum fine for first-time offenders goes from $250 to $500.
  • First-timers with a BAC twice the legal limit – 0.16 percent or greater – will now be guilty of a new aggravated DUI category with a minimum fine of $750 and a mandatory two days in jail or 20 hours of community service.
  • Repeat offenders get mandatory probation and participation in the 24/7 sobriety program which requires daily alcohol screenings.
  • Repeat offenders also face minimum sentences ranging from 10 days in jail for a second offense within seven years to one year and one day for a fourth offense and beyond.
  • A fourth offense, and all subsequent offenses, are now Class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Drunken drivers who kill another person now face a Class A felony offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
  • Refusing to submit to a blood/breath test is now as serious a crime as a DUI.

The question is, will these reforms work? Not many of the advocates of the “get tough” approach to drunk driving like to admit it, but tougher enforcement hasn’t worked well in the past. In pushing for DUI reforms, Governor Jack Dalrymple pointed out earlier this year that DUI arrests have increased by 53% since 2001. Yet, despite that increase in arrests, alcohol-related fatalities and injuries on North Dakota roads have gone up too (though in the context of a 29% increase in vehicle miles traveled on our roads).

graph

I don’t think these tougher laws are going to save any lives. I don’t think tougher penalties are going to make drunks think twice before getting in a car any more than being a mother to drunk driving victims made Sandy Hernandez (a media star for the proponents of DUI reform during the legislative session) refrain from getting behind the wheel after drinking. Two years from now, I think we’re going to see about the same number of alcohol-related deaths and injuries on our roads as we’ve seen for the last decade.

What we are going to see is more enforcement costs. Mandatory sentences will require more jail space in a state where our jails are already bursting at the seams. More time required from law enforcement officials to monitor the sobriety of DUI offenders, and the fulfillment of their probation/community service.

In short, we’re going to spend a lot more tax dollars to accomplish very little in terms of traffic safety. That’s my prediction, anyway.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

Related posts

  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    Exactly.

    And while you’re at it, do tough anti murdering laws really stop murdering?
    No.
    So why have them?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      In not saying the point is to stop drunk driving. I don’t think we could do that. What I’m looking for is a measurable public benefit.

      If there isn’t one, what’s the point?

      • ec99

        I cringe when I hear the term “public benefit.” It ranks right up there with “for the children.”

      • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

        Do you think the law is there to make people think twice about drunk driving?
        Do you think there have been drunks who thought twice?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          I don’t think the new laws will make drunks think twice any more than the old laws.

          That was sort of the point of the post.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            The drunks I know always think about it and do the right thing. Except for one, but she thinks twice now.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I’m glad your friends are responsible people, but that’s neither here nor there in terms of the public policy question.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            So actual facts are trumped by what you think?

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            No, your anecdotes don’t trump actual facts. At least as they stand here in North Dakota. Based on the data, increased arrests over the past decade in North Dakota have not reduced alcohol-related injuries and deaths on the roads.

            I don’t expect tougher laws to make a difference.

            I’d like to be wrong. I don’t think I am, with the historical data as our guide.

          • LenYol

          • Drain52

            You might be right here. Far stiffer drunk driving laws would almost certainly have an effect, but the current increase in penalties might not.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Maybe, but there has to be be a balance doesn’t there?

            I think we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Yes, the percentage rate of deaths associated to drunk drivers has gone down since the 80’s. You are either lying or ignorant to the facts.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            The number of alcohol deaths as a total of all fatalities has gone down, yes, but the total number of fatalities goes up.

            You’re citing data that rally doesn’t tell us anything meaningful.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            What matters is the percentage rate of drunk driving deaths is declining. Unless you want to talk about population control, your distractions are meaningless, as is your attempt to conflate matters by introducing miles traveled into the equation.

            Even if only 3 lives are saved, it’s worth it.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Population control? Huh?

            You put fatality increase in the context of population increases so that you can pinpoint whether or not the problem is getting worse, or if it’s just because of more people.

            Alcohol deaths as a portion of all deaths can be impacted by a lot of things having nothing at all to do with drunk driving.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Rob, it’s clear that you want to dismiss the fact that the percentage rate of drunk driving deaths has dropped, but please don’t try and dismiss this fact by making things up. If you have evidence that the rates have dropped for other reasons, then please provide your statistics and analysis.

            I know part of your misinformation strategy is to attempt to cloud the issue by introducing distractions, but the fact is that the population increases and as a result of more drivers being on the road, more deaths occur, but the important aspect is that the drunk driving death rates are declining. Every time a drunk is arrested and taken off the street it reduces the percentage likelihood of another drunk driving accident or death. These are mathematical statistics that you can not deny.

            Who is paying you to spread misinformation?

            And please, you tried to distract by claiming because the population increases as does overall accidents, that the decline in drunk driving death percentage rate declining doesn’t mean anything. That’s wrongheaded, incorrect and dishonest to spread that lie.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            But it’s not a distraction. It is absolutely true that the percentage of all traffic fatalities related to alcohol is down, but that’s cold comfort when the actual number of alcohol fatalities is up.

            You seem to think the date you keep citing over and over again means something it doesn’t.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            The data I am citing means lives are being saved by this public policy. It’s a great comfort to me to know lives are being saved. Probably because you get paid by insurance companies to lie….you rather ignore that the non-alcohol related deaths are spiking, while alcohol related deaths are declining. That means something.

            You are suggesting that the death rate should remain static, despite the intense population growth, something you REFUSE to do when it comes to looking at the numbers for new jobs created.

            You’re totally dishonest.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            “The data I am citing means lives are being saved by this public policy. ”

            How can you say that when the number of people killed in alcohol related crashes has gone up?

            All you’re pointing out is that the number of deaths in relation to overall deaths has gone down. That’s neither here nor there.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            No, your mis-characterizing the data in order to dismiss it. The rate average of deaths caused by drunk drivers has declined…..end of story.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            You don’t examine the data, you ignore it. Here’s is data that proves your statement wrong, and woefully ignorant.

            In 2011, the rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population was 3.2, representing a 65% decrease since 1982, when record keeping began, and 49% since the inception of The Century Council in 1991. What this translates into is, for every 100,000 people in the US in 2011, slightly more than three people were killed in a drunk driving fatal crash, a rate that has been cut almost in half over the past two decades – down from a rate of 6.3 in 1991.

          • Red wolf

            If someone that has been drinking is driving home and is stopped at a red light and is hit by a sober driver,,,,,,,,,,,,Is this a alcohol related accident?

            I bet it is!

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Rob doesn’t know a thing about North Dakota drunk driving statistics. At least those that don’t fit into his narrative.

            The percentage rate of fatalities caused by drunks has steadily gone down, on average, since the 1980’s. The percentage was greater in the past where half or more deaths were caused by drunks, that rate now hangs around 40%.

            As the population increases so does the number of deaths and arrests, but the percentage rate tells the more accurate story.

            http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics-north-dakota.html

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Uh, that’s pretty much exactly what I’ve been arguing.

            You’re making my case for me.

            Try reading the posts.

          • LenYol

            “Try reading the posts.”

            You’re asking a lot from an uneducated troll.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Where do you state the percentage rate of drunk driving deaths has declined since the 80s?

            My point is that the laws are helping, as evidenced by the percentage rate drop. Your argument is that the laws haven’t changed anything, but they have.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            That not the rate of drunk driving deaths in the context of miles traveled, that’s alcohol-related deaths as a percentage of all traffic deaths.

            It’s good that rate has dropped, but it’s really not pertinent data to this debate.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            WTF are you talking about Rob? In your comments related to the laws it has NOTHING to do with miles traveled. Try being honest, or learn how to read:

            Here’s what’s happening:

            The minimum fine for first-time offenders goes from $250 to $500.

            First-timers with a BAC twice the legal limit – 0.16 percent or
            greater – will now be guilty of a new aggravated DUI category with a minimum fine of $750 and a mandatory two days in jail or 20 hours of community service.

            Repeat offenders get mandatory probation and participation in the 24/7 sobriety program which requires daily alcohol screenings.

            Repeat offenders also face minimum sentences ranging from 10 days in jail for a second offense within seven years to one year and one day
            for a fourth offense and beyond.

            A fourth offense, and all subsequent offenses, are now Class C
            felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

            Drunken drivers who kill another person now face a Class A felony offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

            Refusing to submit to a blood/breath test is now as serious a crime as a DUI.

            The question is, will these reforms work? Not many of the advocates
            of the “get tough” approach to drunk driving like to admit it, but
            tougher enforcement hasn’t worked well in the past.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            VMT is important context for duo’s. Obviously I’d you have more drivers you’re going to have more deaths and drunk driving.

            Call me names all you want, but you don’t seem to understand the basics of this issue.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            You quoted the laws, and the laws speak NOTHING to miles traveled.

            You are trying to obfuscate and distract from the facts, for what reason I can only imagine. But the percentage rate of traffic deaths associated with drunk drivers is declining as the new laws get tougher. That’s a fact that you can not deny, no matter how much you try to obfuscate.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            The laws don’t have to say anything about VMT, and I’m not sure why you’d think that.

            But the percentage rate of traffic deaths associated with drunk drivers is declining as the new laws get tougher.

            No, you’re not stating that correctly. The percentage of traffic fatalities that are attributable to alcohol are going down, yet actual alcohol fatalities are going up too which means overall fatalities are going up even higher.

            You’re off in left field. i’m not even sure you understand the topic at hand.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            You’re the one who’s missing the boat Rob. You admit that the drunk driving death rate is declining. It doesn’t matter that population growth and more drivers increase the overall number as long as the percentage ratio is decreasing.

            The rate of non-alcohol related deaths isn’t decreasing, ALCOHOL related deaths rates are. The death rate of non-alcohol related deaths is spiking, which reveals the causation of the new regulation.

            Population growth as it impacts the overall numbers are distractions from the rate drop. Stop being an obtuse buffoon.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            This most certainly speaks to public policy and how it positively reduced the percentage of drunk driving deaths, since public policy started affecting laws.

            Drunk Driving Statistics

            In 2011, the rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population was 3.2, representing a 65% decrease since 1982, when record keeping began, and 49% since the inception of The Century Council in 1991. What this translates into is, for every 100,000 people in the US in 2011, slightly more than three people were killed in a drunk driving fatal crash, a rate that has been cut almost in half over the past two decades – down from a rate of 6.3 in 1991.

            Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31% of the total vehicle traffic fatalities in 2011. Between 1991 and 2011, the rate of drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 population has decreased 49% nationally, and 63% among those under 21. These statistics and others are positive indicators of the gains being made to fight drunk driving, and while The Century Council cannot claim to be the sole influence in these reductions, it is likely we have played a significant role in reaching these historic low levels. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 32,367 people died in traffic crashes in 2011 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 9,878 people who were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). Among the people killed in these drunk driving crashes, 66% were drivers (6,507), 27% were motor vehicle occupants (2,661), and 7% were non-occupants (710), with an average of one person dying in a drunk driving fatality every 53 minutes.

            http://www.centurycouncil.org/drunk-driving/drunk-driving-statistics

          • LenYol

            …”but she thinks twice now.”

            Are you referring to your drunk wife, or your drunk mommy?

          • yy4u2

            Guessing wife and mom. One for marrying him and the other for having him.

          • LenYol

            Agreed

          • banjo kid

            But make it hard on them and we can get them in jail away from the public and them being a threat to society. should we then change the law to were they pay a 200 dollar fine and walk away? I really think any one who drinks and gets behind the wheel should do serious jail time period . When you see the carnage up close you tend to develop that kind of attitude. A hard line at the first offense is needed, not give them more chances to kill and maim

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            The problem you run is that a) jails are very, very expensive and b) mandatory jail sentences are going to ruin a lot of lives for casual drinkers who, frankly, really aren’t the problem.

          • banjo kid

            I should have been a tad more specific. I mean the real problem drinkers who do not give a crap who they hurt they are going to drive drunk . I agree the limit is to low and there lies the entire problem so any one who drinks one drink is already guilty. The real problem is you can not legislate morality and you can not legislate how people drink.

      • Drain52

        But this is what realitybasedbob is saying. If locking up murderers doesn’t lower the murder rate, then according to your reasoning we shouldn’t bother locking them up at all since there’s no “measurable public benefit.”

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          But drunk drivers aren’t murderers. Also, the straw man you’re attacking is the idea that I’m against criminalizing drunk driving at all.

          That’s not true. I’m not saying legalize it. I’m saying that if we’re going to spend tax dollars on enhancing enforcement and tougher penalties it should actually, you know, work.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Putting aside for the moment that you are wrong about the facts, the laws are working, let’s deal with your poor reading comprehension.

            If laws against murder don’t stop murder, why bother having the laws or locking them up? That’s not suggesting we legalize murder, just…you know, have laws that actually stop murder.

            You idiot.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            If these new DUI laws don’t lower fatalities and injuries, what good are they?

          • Drain52

            I gotta return to the point. You seem to be saying that you’re not against criminalizing drunk driving. You also are saying that if a law isn’t effective, there should be no law at all (or at least a lesser punishment). What if the recent softer DUI laws weren’t working? Should we have gotten rid of those entirely, of softened the punishment even more?

            If indeed laws didn’t decrease crime rates (and this applies to murder as well) would you advocate abolishing law and punishment? I don’t see how you could claim otherwise, given your emphasis on public benefit.

          • JoeMN

            Are you saying that DUI laws should be similar to…..say public indecency laws ?
            Even if ineffective (and they may make us “feel” better), but serve no real purpose outside generating revenue from fines and make work for lawyers.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Of course im not for deceiminalizing drunk driving. But if toughening the law doesnt make our roads safer what have we accomplished?

            Do you not think there isa point of diminishing returns?

    • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

      The death penalty is 100% effective in stopping one person from ever doing that crime, or any other crime, again.

      • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

        So a tough drunk driving law will stop a drunk the second time, is that what you’re saying, flamer?

        • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

          Sorry, I can’t understand what you’re trying to say. Use English.

  • Brent

    When have politicians ever cared about outcomes? …

    And from their perspective, I guess they really have no reason to. Nothing happens to them if they are wrong.

  • NoDakNative

    Short Answer: No

    As long as the limit is set to the draconian level of .08 instead of something reasonable, like .15 too much of an officers time will be wasted arresting and booking in low level offenders, meaning fewer officers on the road to find the truly dangerous drunks.

    These low BAC levels also remove the stigma of having a DWI. Decades ago, if you got a DWI, you were seriously sloshed. Nowadays it seems every other person has a DWI at some point or another so now it’s not a big deal if someone has a DWI.

    MADD has to keep the money flowing so they have to continue creating a problem that was solved years ago. Look at the chart in the article. The “tougher” the laws have gotten, the higher the number of crashes and fatalities have gotten, so something is obviously not working.

    • JoeMN

      Plus repeat drunk drivers tend to present at much higher levels than .08

      • NoDakNative

        Exactly. The original point of having the limit at .15 was twofold:

        1. It was beyond reasonable doubt that someone was too drunk to drive at that point.
        2. The law was about targeting the chronic drunks who were the source of the problem and leaving the people who had three beers at dinner alone.

  • matthew_bosch

    So by refusing a warrantless breath/blood test I’m deemed guilty of a crime?

    • ec99

      In how many cases has probable cause been eliminated which allowed cops to go on fishing expeditions?

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        That’s really troubling. They’ve obliterated a lot of privacy and due process rights with the push to solve the drunk driving “crisis.”

  • PK

    How can we have victimless crimes in America? There should be harsh penalties if you get into an accident drunk, especially if you hurt or kill someone. But all these new laws are just an excuse to expand government power and to raise money, and they’re more likely counter-productive. If cops didn’t target people for driving 20-30 mph on the highway when they’re a little buzzed, it wouldn’t force those people to drive 65 mph, drastically increasing their chances for an accident. Granted nobody is forcing those people to drink either, but how can someone get in trouble, when there’s no victim, driving 30 mph, with their flashers on, with a BAC of .08? It’s a joke. 65 mph is even too fast to drive when you’re sober in reality. How many of us have hit deer, been in an accident or had a close call? It doesn’t seem like 65 is all that fast, but when you have to stop, you cover a lot of ground before you can even react. Maybe if government didn’t set speed limits that are unsafe, then force everyone to drive those speeds to not be targeted as a potential DUI, there wouldn’t be as many accidents. Wearing helmets and 5 point restraints with the HANS system would accomplish a much larger decrease in fatalities than the counter-productive DUI enforcement. But reducing fatalities really isn’t the goal of government. It’s Power and Control. All this is going to lead to humans being banned from operating vehicles. We’ll be forced to use the robotic cars, that are already available, because a computer will supposedly be a “safer driver” than humans. Anybody notice the technocracy being constructed all around us? The video cameras at every intersection and along highways, drones and blimps doing surveillance, satellites that video tape and store every inch of the planet, cell phones that can be tracked and used as a bug to listen to you even with the phone off, onstar in cars that are tracked, facial recognition cameras being installed into the new TV’s, or telescreens, all communications being stored and mined by the government, all your digital financial transactions being stored and sold, RFID chips in passports. I’m sure it’s all to keep us safe and there’s nothing sinister about it.

  • Camburn

    The change in the law is already having an effect. It is much more common as of late to have a designated driver, and if alone folks now ask for rides.

    • Flyby_Knight

      Source?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The change of law just happened today, how can you say it’s having an effect?

      If you’re talking about past law changes having an impact, where’s the reduction in alcohol-related injuries and fatalities?

      • Camburn

        People know the tougher laws are coming and are adjusting to them.

        Give it two years and see the improvement in alcohol related injuries etc.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Ok.

          But this isn’t the first time we’ve made the laws tougher in the last decade. If it doesn’t work, can we repeal and try a different approach? Or are we going to keep the vicious cycle going?

  • Lianne

    No.
    I want the drunks off the road, but the only thing that will greatly reduce driving drunk is a punishment that severely and negatively impacts the driver and the family, such as ALL vehicles in his or her name be sold at a public auction or put in wheel boots for a year for the first offense. Would that be fair to the rest of the family? Probably not, but neither is the agonizing death or maiming of someone else’s family member.
    But those severe consequences won’t happen and anything else is a huge waste of legislator’s time and taxpayer’s money.

    • ec99

      Getting legislators to vote in really tough DUI laws would be like getting investors to vote in a 90% capital gains tax; too much personal interest involved.

      • Lianne

        Exactly, years ago when I was but a child, my folks had a similar discussion about drunk driving when woman died near our dirve-way. Back then, they said tuffer laws will never pass because too many legislators not only drink and drive, but drive way over the speed limit getting to and from legislative sessions. They named several from this area. It was one of the first discussions where I learned laws are not followed or believed to be in place for EVERYONE to follow.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        what would “really tough” dui laws be to you?

        Honestly, I think we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns in terms of “toughness.” If we want to lower drunk driving, we’re going to have to convince the public to quit driving drunk.

        • JoeMN

          This means going after those repeat offenders, rather than casting a wider “feel good” net.

  • MikeS

    The “costs money” argument is weak. This is the first and most important function of government. “Establish justice” (and I’m not talking about social justice). If we weren’t spending our tax money on other things, this wouldn’t be an issue.

    Allowing dangerous behavior and then only punishing those who are unlucky enough to lose seems like a very short-sighted idea. Why do we have written driving tests or any tests to get a license? We could just wait and punish those who cause accidents. Why do we have safety standards for vehicles (headlights, brake lights, etc.) Again, just wait until something bad happens.

    Now I’m opposed to many of the liberty and privacy-smashing approaches such as DWI checkpoints, there should be a real penalty for this dangerous behavior, whether that changes the behavior of everyone or not.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The “costs money” argument is weak. This is the first and most important function of government. “Establish justice” (and I’m not talking about social justice). If we weren’t spending our tax money on other things, this wouldn’t be an issue.

      I don’t know. I think the cost of all functions of government should be questioned.

      But the cost is definitely a factor when there’s little evidence that the “get tough” approach works.

      • Thresherman

        The problem with government is that there is no cost/benefit reasoning. Say “it’s for the kids” or some such inanity and the spigot of money flows unchecked. In this case it was “something must be done!” and so “something” became more important than the smart or right thing. But hey, as long as some can now beat their chests and pontificate about responsible they are and what scum of the earth the drunk driver is, why then it is mission accomplished as far as they are concerned. But if you are so foolish as to expect results or question the methods, why you must be silenced because you must surely want carnage on our roads.

        In my humble opinion, this whole sordid mess has been a textbook case of governance at it’s worst. No doubt there are those who are aghast at my saying that, but I happen to believe, forlornly perhaps, that laws should be the result of logic, reason and timely consideration rather than by inflamed passions, self righteousness, political posturing and grandstanding.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          The real problem is that when it doesn’t work, it’s always because they didn’t do enough, so they argue for more of the same.

  • ND Observer

    No, these new punitive laws will not work. More punishment is not the solution, but good alternatives to drinking and driving are like bus service at night, more taxis on weekends, designated drivers, giving rides home, etc. Cities should not tow or ticket cars that are left overnight, which they aggressively do, encouraging drunks to drive rather than get a certain fine or tow, taking their chances. Let’s be honest, law enforcement wants the income from drinkers more than they want safety. They get more staff, more cars, more overtime by targeting drinkers. It is a govt scam. They would be giving rides home if they cared about safety, Good legislation would take all fines from DUI and related alcohol violations and force the govt to spend them on getting people home safely. Then watch drunken driving plummet.

    • NoDakNative

      Don’t forget how they have charged people who are being responsible by not driving and sleeping it off in their cars with DUI because they MIGHT drive.

  • Mark H

    DUI is still socially acceptable. It won’t be until a generational change decides it’s wrong to see any substantial change. In the mean time, the govt has a right and duty to strictly control the behavior of those who violate their PRIVILEDGE to drive by putting me and my family’s RIGHT to be safe on the road at risk.

    The one new thing that has NEVER been tried before is the windspread, mandatory 24/7 program use. It has already shown 98% success rate statewide. This directly targets ND DUI problem; repeat offenders. The average drunk drives 15 times before finally being caught. Now, if they continue to chose to be an irresponsible member of society, we can now atleast ensure they will be sober for the 1 year, 2 year, etc that they are on probation. I think it’s brilliant, and I bet you will see the DUI arrest numbers slowly start to climb down.

    The new law also treats first time offenders more caringly. They can now drive as long as they are in 24/7. I’m all for that. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Don’t be a DUI apologist! It’s time DUI offenders are scarlett-lettered just as bad as sex offenders. (If you gasp at that concept, you just proved my point about social acceptance!!!)

    • NoDakNative

      Something can’t be socially unacceptable when nearly everyone has one. Raise the limit back to .15, or even a little higher, target chronic drunk drivers who blow .24 and then you might see a change. Going after people who have had 3 beers is stupid and counterproductive.

      The way the law is now, you might as well try to make getting speeding tickets socially unacceptable.

      • Mark H

        As a ND LE, I’ve never arrested anyone under a .10. They just don’t exhibit all the signs. In fact, most jurisdictions plea anything under a .10 to reckless driving. Once you start getting to that .11 to .12, people almost always exhibit impairment and shouldn’t be driving. Nowadays, I’m lucky to see anyone under a .14. For whatever reason, people are just getting more blitzed. All the more reason this law came about at the right time.

        • NoDakNative

          I do contract work in jails all across ND and I can assure you that plenty of people with .08 and .09 get arrested. Then factor in the inherent unreliability of breathalyzers and you have quite a few people who may easily have an actual BAC that is legal.getting arrested.

          I would seriously contest your assertion that people at .11 and .12 being as dangerous as you describe. No more so than any of the other things people do while driving and yet highway fatalities keep going down..

          The stats back up my position, if the goal is to decrease drunk driving accidents and deaths then they are failing miserably at that. If the goal is to fill up our jails with non-violent offender then it is doing that quite nicely.

      • Drain52

        In truth, the new law does target the truly drunk by increasing the penalty for those with a BAC over .16%

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          That is one aspect I agree with.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      DUI is still socially acceptable.

      That’s the problem in a nutshell, which illustrates why more laws aren’t going to make all that much of a difference.

  • henrycat

    A 29% increase in road miles with in increase in crashes and fatalities…… what a revelation…. whooda thunk???? How do you get a job as one of these statisticians??? the new law is just another cash cow for the State…. May I have more tax please??? Why not let the category of Reckless Driving with enhanced charges take care of this problem rather than make laws so complex and overlapping??? Legislators made this into a big deal because of the potential revenues. To think that no one drove under the influence before recent times is just plain naive…. people have been doing that since I was a kid in Bottineau (many years ago)…. But, if you behaved yourself behind the wheel, the authorities left you alone… Not everyone who gets behind the wheel after having a few beers has an accident or hurts someone….. but, should he, naturally, there ought to be consequences. I know, I know, go ahead and scold me for not realizing what the possibilities of the woulda, coulda, shoulda situations are…..

  • Say It

    Drunk drivers are dangerous. If you are impaired, how do you expect them to drive?
    Whats next? Its alright for plane pilots to be alcohol impaired, too???

    • henrycat

      Setting an arbitrary limit to BAC does not fix the problem…… One size does not fit all. You may be able to have four drinks in one hour and still be the excellent, careful driver that you are…… I on the other hand, may be impaired by two drinks in an hour and not be able to stay between the lines. Charging a person with reckless driving with enhancements for alcohol/drugs is more reasonable… Reckless driving is a lot easier to spot and more fair to the individual than is check points for DWI…..

      • Drain52

        What you say is true, but relativistic assessments in the field are impossible. That’s why we don’t let 13-year-olds drive in town, even though some of them might be better drivers than a 30-year-old. There has to be a cutoff somewhere, which usually means something a bit arbitrary, but there’s no practical alternative.

        Agreed on checkpoints, though. They are clearly unconstitutional.

  • Jamie Sigler
  • Jamie Sigler

    The problem with our legislators is they are doing something symbolic and not addressing making the roads safer from dangerous drivers including the drunks and other drivers. Law enforcement instead will focus more on wasting time with testing every suspicious individual who has a license plate light out at approximately 1 in the morning on boosting arrest numbers to boost that revenue, but will take attention and resources away from capturing or preventing the most dangerous drivers on the road. The statistics across the country back up my point. The statistics also work out of favor of lowering the BAC. After they lowered the BAC from .10 to .08 drunken driving related fatalities increased because officers were more focused on minor offenses and resources were deprived from the patrols to the checkpoints. Truthfully I think most of our legislators know the facts and turn the other cheek because they are always chasing more revenue and they know the voters in general are ignorant to scientific and statistical evidence. Yes I said it, the legislators care more about revenue and less about lives and safety.

  • http://www.attorneymatthewsrbark.com/dui/ Attorney Matthews Bark Orlando

    Be safe every time while you are driving..

Top