MADD calls upon Minnesota to legalize sobriety checkpoints
Mothers Against Drunk Driving gave Minnesota low marks in its new state-by-state evaluation of DWI laws.
MADD, in particular, calls upon state lawmakers to legalize sobriety checkpoints, writing that they "will give law enforcement the tools needed to cut drunk driving fatalities." (The organization also recommends requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted DWI offenders.)
Minnesota is currently one of just 12 states that doesn't allow law enforcement to conduct sobriety checkpoints. Changing that would require a constitutional amendment, as according to Minnesota NORML, the state constitution "requires that a driver is not arbitrarily subjected to an investigative stop... without [an officer] first having an articulable suspicion of driving wrongdoing."
:::: UPDATE :::: MADD planning legislative push for more ignition interlocks
DWI arrests in Minnesota actually fell dramatically last year, to 23,800 from 28,418 in 2012. It doesn't appear the number of 2013 drunk driving-related fatalities in Minnesota has yet been released, but in recent years the number has hovered just above 100 annually.
A voicemail left with the director of MADD's Minnesota office seeking comment on if and how the organization plans to push for sobriety checkpoints this legislative session hasn't been returned as this is published.
In the state-by-state report, Wisconsin received the same two stars out of five score as Minnesota, with MADD noting that the Land of Cheese "is the only state in the nation where a first drunk driving offense is not a crime. It's 'just' a traffic ticket."
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.