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MADD and NHTSA Target Drunk Drivers This Christmas in Minnesota

Drunk driving is responsible for more deaths over the holidays than at any other time of year. To address the added threat posed to people traveling on roadways, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has launched the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.

The campaign's focus is to encourage those who plan on drinking over the holidays to avoid getting behind the wheel, either by using a designated driver or taxi. When these options are not available, people who have had too much to drink are encouraged to call a friend or family member who can pick them up.

Drunk driving remains a serious threat in Minnesota. Unlike other states, who have experienced a drop in drunk driving over the past year, drunk driving has actually increased. According to MADD, in 2010 31 percent of all drunk driving fatalities were alcohol related. This marks a 19 percent increase over the previous year.

A significant problem for many is realizing when they've had too much. People frequently have difficulty differentiating between when they are buzzed and when they are intoxicated. Increasingly people are finding that even when they are buzzed, they are not safe to drive.

People suspected of driving while intoxicated (DUI) are served best by contacting a St. Paul or Minneapolis DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Minnesota has very serious laws to address drinking and driving. Like many other states, Minnesota has an implied consent law, which means that anyone driving the state's roadways has implicitly given his or her permission to submit to a Breathalyzer test, which measures the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC). A driver who refuses to test will automatically have his or her driver's license revoked for a period of time.

The BAC limit for DUI in Minnesota is .08. If a person's BAC exceeds .15, they may be charged with a felony, even if it is their first offense. People convicted of DUI may face fines, license suspension and even prison time. The consequences are severe.

Criminal defense attorneys on the cutting edge of Breathalyzer defense are very concerned that the equipment used to measure BAC does not produce reliable results. Currently, the Minnesota Supreme Court is reviewing a case which would require the company who makes the device to reveal its programming. Until a decision is reached, the future of many individuals suspected of DUI hangs in the balance.

Those celebrating the holidays should take care to avoid being pulled over. If you drink, don't get behind the wheel. Everyone should anticipate elevated patrols throughout the remainder of the year.

Source: www.MADD.org, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over this Holiday Season" 14 December 2011, MADD

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