Take the right steps to avoid drunk drivers

Published 5:55 pm Saturday, August 23, 2014

QUESTION:  What is the best defense against a drunk driver?

ANSWER:  In Minnesota, 387 people died in traffic crashes last year and 21 percent (81 people) were in crashes involving drunk drivers. On average, 70 people per day were arrested for DWI, Driving While Intoxicated.

Obviously, it is important to be a defensive driver. The best defense against a drunk driver is to wear your seat belt; in a crash the seat belt keeps you secure inside your vehicle. People do not survive being slammed against the windshield or being ejected from the car. The second best defense is to report drunk driving: call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide the location, the license plate number of the vehicle and the observed dangerous behavior. A third defense is to never be a passenger in a vehicle with an alcohol/drug impaired driver. Every parent of a teen driver needs to talk about techniques for getting out of a car being driven by an impaired driver, including “Please pull over and let me out, I’m about to throw up.”

Email newsletter signup

Between now and Labor Day, extra police officers are on the roads watching specifically for alcohol/drug impaired drivers.

A DWI offense can result in the loss of a license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in costs and possible jail time. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver’s license.

Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for 3- 6 years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child- raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528.  For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599.  Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org and “Not So Fast: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving” at the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street S.E., Austin).