Drunk driving accidents in Minnesota can be fatal, and the devastating consequences of them are entirely preventable. Over the past few decades, there has been a decline in fatal drunk driving accidents, but the problem is still significant.
Over 10,000 people die each year because of drunk driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 10,142 deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents involving a drunk driver in 2019. That means that there are an average of 28 people killed each day in the U.S. because of a drunk driver. Around one-third of all car accident fatalities involve a driver who was under the influence of alcohol.
Drunk driving laws
Drunk driving is illegal in every state, and the legal alcohol limit in Minnesota is set at .08 blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. That means that it is illegal for drivers to have more than .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood in their system. Utah is the only state with a lower BAC limit of .05. Law enforcement officers use breath, blood and urine tests to determine a driver’s BAC.
The legal definition of drunk driving isn’t perfect. Any amount of alcohol can impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, and some people are more affected by alcohol than others. For example, people who are taking certain medications may become extremely impaired from only a small amount of alcohol. In 2019, 1,775 people were killed in accidents involving drivers with BAC levels between .01 and .07.
How alcohol impairs driving ability
Drinking alcohol is one of the worst things you can do before driving. Alcohol reduces a driver’s ability to concentrate on the road and take decisive actions in response to unexpected events. Drunk drivers may lose their ability to reason, multitask, process information and maintain speed awareness.
Liability for drunk driving accidents
Drivers that choose to get behind the wheel while they are intoxicated can be found liable for injuries and deaths that they cause. The police report and the results of BAC testing may be used in victims’ personal injury claims.