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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 19, 2014, 09:22 PM

Minnesota parents introduce "Drake's Law" to make DWI laws tougher

Marshall, MN (WDAY TV) - When it comes to drunk driving in our surrounding states; the statistics are staggering. In Minnesota, one in 7-licensed drivers has a DWI; many of them, have more than one.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Marshall, MN (WDAY TV) - When it comes to drunk driving in our surrounding states; the statistics are staggering.

In Minnesota, one in 7-licensed drivers has a DWI; many of them, have more than one.

Now, two Minnesota parents are fighting for tougher DWI laws for repeat offenders, after losing their son in a drunk driving accident.

Each year about 30,000 drunk drivers are arrested in Minnesota. This St. Patrick's Day weekend alone, there were close to 500 and a lot of them were not first timers.

Bill Bergquist/Clay Co. Sheriff: “The repeat offenders, it's not abnormal.”

With drunk driving facts, the latest numbers show about 40% of Minnesota violators had at least one prior DWI.

Our roads are also home to a man from Otter Tail County; whose DWI tally now tops 27.

Bergquist: “I hate to say it but a lot of times it's the experienced drinkers who don't feel it like somebody who is not.”

Its drivers like those the proposed "Drake's Law" targets.

Created after 5-month-old Drake Bigler died in a collision caused by a repeat drunk driving offender.

It was his third DWI in 10 years; now Drake's parents are asking for change.

Brad Bigler/Marshall, MN: "When you've been through a situation like we've been through, I think it's our responsibility to kind of step up and try to protect others who in the future might have to step up and go through something like we went through."

The driver convicted of killing Drake was sentenced to four years in prison.

"Drake's Law"- just introduced this week; would increase the maximum prison sentence from 10 to 15 years in criminal vehicular homicide cases.

For people who had a prior DWI offense in the last 10 years.

Bergquist: “Really, that's the only thing we have to go on. Raise the fine, give them more jail time. As law enforcement, I think we would support it just because we have an obligation to our citizens to try to keep them safe.”

But Bergquist says unfortunately, no matter how bad penalties are, people will still drive drunk.

Bergquist: “For some reason, people want to take that chance and to me, it's not a chance worth taking.”

Already this year, there have been 58 driving fatalities in Minnesota; it is unclear how many of those were alcohol related.

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