Driving Under the Influence - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Driving Under the Influence

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2013 police statistics show less drunk driving incidents occurred in Minot last year.

Alcohol offenses dropped approximately 300 incidents from 2012 to 2013.

But on the other side of the coin, drug violations are on the rise.

Bonnie Campo compares the number of drug violations with alcohol violations in the area.

(Lt. Justin Dump, Minot Police) "New statute that came out in thousand and thirteen may have had something to do with it. I can tell you locally within our department, lot of our senior officers that are well versed in impairment detection are training new officers, and sometimes that takes away our ability to be proactive on the road. Our calls for service are going up and are consistently going up every year, and so in turns what that happens is, the officers end up bouncing from call to call to call and don't have the ability to be as proactive as they would like to be, or we would like to be."

The new state law doubles jail time for repeat offenders and could even triple their fines. Sergeant Margie Zietz says her department tries to find a solution before the offense.

(Sgt. Margie Zietz, Minot Police) " As a, not only an educator, and a parent and a police officer, I hope that maybe we are getting some messages across. We don't have a stat we are getting this many messages across, but I do feel that we are making some headway in the prevention efforts."

Then, there are drug violations-- and with thirty more cases than last year, they are at their highest ever-- five-hundred and fifty eight. But, those violations most likely will receive even more stringent penalties than alcohol offenses.

(Lt. Justin Dump, Minot Police) "For possession of drug paraphernalia, for misdemeanor types of offenses for marijuana it is a class a misdemeanor in North Dakota, which can mean up to a year in jail. For any other kind of paraphernalia, it is usually classified as being felony paraphernalia."

A minor marijuana offense adds up to thirty days in jail and a thousand dollar fine. Authorities say to keep yourself safe on the roads means being proactive.

(Lt. Justin Dump, Minot Police) "No matter what time of day it is, that sober driver needs to stay alert and be aware of all surroundings around them, and be defensive when they drive as well.

For KX News I'm Bonnie Campo.

State drunk driving laws require a one year jail term for a driver proven to be under the influence in a crash that involved an injury.

If there's a fatality, a drunk driver can get a three year prison sentence.

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