NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — 37 people in the United States die every day in drunk driving crashes. That’s one person every 39 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As far as in North Dakota, alcohol is a factor in about 39 percent of fatal crashes annually, and Forbes ranked our state as number 4 on the list of worst states for drunk driving.
Drunk-related crashes affect so many families every year, and Bismarck police officers say they’re 100% preventable. Driving Under the Influence can impact so many lives, not just a person being arrested.
It is estimated that one out of five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives, according to North Dakota Department of Transportation.
For one of every 140 miles driven in North Dakota, a person with a blood alcohol content of over 0.10 sat behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, despite the law being 0.08.
“So far, in 2023, there have been 349 arrests for Driving Under the Influence,” said Lt. Luke Gardiner of Bismarck Police.
Compared to 2022, where there was 429 in the Capital City, there is just an 80-count difference, and that’s just according to the current year to date.
In Minot, there were 294 arrests in 2022, and 211 so far this year.
And some of those arrests were done by repeated offenders.
1st time and 2nd time offenders are classified as a Class B misdemeanor and are charged with 2-10 days behind bars and between a $750 – $1500 fine.
And on the fourth offense, it becomes a Class C felony with one-year in prison.
Lt. Gardiner says offenders have no excuse to continuously drive drunk. He recommends finding an alternative way to getting from Point A to Point B.
“We have so many options in this town whether it be Uber, Lyft and now there’s some taxi cab companies coming back into the city, so make a plan,” said Lt. Gardiner.
So far, these numbers are better than last year; however, the holidays are a dangerous time for drunk driving.
Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are typically on the top 5 deadliest holidays for drunk driving among national surveys.