Bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Mark Koran to remove loopholes in Minnesota’s driving while impaired (DWI) laws for recreational vehicles overwhelmingly passed the Minnesota Senate on a 59-7 vote. The bill would expand the prohibition on operating recreational vehicles following a DWI conviction, eliminate the driver’s license revocation exemption for recreational vehicle DWI offenses, and expand the “zero tolerance” provision for underage drinkers to include the operation of all vehicles.
“Prior to this legislation, there were more severe consequences for driving your lawn mower while impaired on the street, than driving a recreational vehicle while impaired,” said Senator Koran. “Obviously, that needed to change. This makes clear that driving while impaired, no matter the vehicle, should never be tolerated.”
Recently, state legislators conducted a thorough review of Minnesota’s DWI laws after an incident last winter where an 8-year-old boy was killed on Chisago Lake by an impaired driver who was operating a snowmobile, even after he had previous DWI motor vehicle convictions on his record. Senator Koran’s legislation would expand current Minnesota law to close loopholes in the impaired driving statutes pertaining to recreational vehicles. The measure makes Minnesota laws uniform by treating all impaired driving, regardless of the vehicle, equally. The bill is supported by the Snowmobile Association of Minnesota, the ATV Association of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“The message is clear: do not operate a motor vehicle while impaired,” added Senator Koran. “This is commonsense public safety reform that will benefit every Minnesotan.”